Catherine Vonledebur (Coventry Telegraph)It is Steven Robert’s fragile Barbra Streisand-loving Posner who steals your heart Kate Saxon’s fresh adaptation of Alan Bennett’s incredibly funny play, about a group of Northern sixth-formers in a 1980s grammar, introduces a new class of talent. The History Boys was a big hit sensation when it opened nearly 11 years ago at The National Theatre in May 2004, causing a meltdown at the box office. The A-level students are groomed for Oxford and Cambridge by three inspirational teachers under the reins of Christopher Ettridge’s league table obsessed headmaster who feels they are “a little ordinary”. He brings in newly-qualified teacher Irwin to give them “edge”. “Think polish,” he tells Irwin. Richard Hope’s English master Hector, is a gentler and less flamboyant character than Richard Griffiths’ portrayal in the film but equally moving. Susan Twist is very good as sardonic history teacher Mrs Lintott and in his beige suit and glasses, Mark Field, is a quietly understated and rather serious Irwin, looking every inch the part of a typical 80s history teacher. The play not only asks important questions about the value and meaning of education; but how history and English are taught. Then there is the groping of the boys by Hector on the back of his motorbike. He is seen “fiddling” while stopping at the traffic lights, through a charity shop window by the headmaster’s wife. Mrs Lintott later tells Irwin it is a perfect illustration of the randomness of history, as his wife never usually worked in the shop on a Wednesday. Scenes are interspersed with quick blasts of 80s pop from Soft Cell’s Tainted Love to New Order’s Blue Monday and Papa’s got a Brand New Pig Bag. The play, which has echoes of the films Goodbye Mr Chips and Dead Poet’s Society, has lost none of its original charm or Northern humour. Hector’s general studies class where the boys’ act out a brothel scene in French with great relish, is still very amusing. The boys’ impersonation of famous scenes from the 1940s films Now, Voyager and Brief Encounter is also great fun. Of the sixth formers, Kedar Williams-Stirling – Tom on CBBC’s Wolfblood – is an impossibly handsome, cocky Dakin, Joshua Mayes-Cooper, a playful Timms, but it is Steven Robert’s fragile Barbra Streisand-loving Posner who steals your heart. After coming out to Irwin he has the classic line: “I’m small, I’m homosexual and I’m from Sheffield – I’m f***ed.” Dakin’s love interest, Fiona, makes only a fleeting appearance. The History Boys, is set simply in a school classroom with a piano, the back wall covered in bookcases and posters of literary heroes, Pre-Raphaelites, and Che Guevara. Centre-stage Hector’s motorbike hangs from the ceiling. The Belgrade is the second venue to stage this revival on a six-month UK tour so catch this witty, life-enhancing play, while you can.