LAUNCHING his inaugural season, Artistic Director Daniel Evans directs a revival of Alan Bennett’s first play. Set in 1968 at a British public school, Albion House, on the eve of the Headmaster’s retirement where an end of term play is taking place.

This play-within-the-play depicts changes to Britain after the end of the Great War with its loss of innocence and a generation of young men. These changes are presented as revue sketches that satirise political, social and literary figures such as T E Lawrence, the Bloomsbury set – lesser known ones could baffle the un-enlightened.

This being Bennett, the writing is full of nostalgia, elegies and wicked wit with clever parodies and wordplay. There are fine performances throughout from staff and pupils. But the pivot of the play is the Headmaster – an old fashioned man with similar values handing over to a younger person with differing views.

Richard Wilson takes on the role and whilst he gives a good performance it is quite clear that his recent health problems do not allow him to do full justice to the part. Written in 1968 when Britain was at a cultural and political crossroad, uncertainties of that time are echoed by those of today.