Barrit’s Happiest Days Are Back on Stage???
Date: 8 January 2007
Desmond Barrit, who last year played unconventional English teacher Hector in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys on tour, will return to school later this year to take on the role of the besieged headmaster of a boys’ boarding school in John Dighton’s wartime comedy The Happiest Days of Your Life. In the summer of 1945, classes have just resumed after a lengthy wartime evacuation. Chaos comes when a government directive results in the staff and pupils of a girls' school being billeted onto the boys’. First performed in the West End in 1948, the stage play became a 1950 Ealing Studio film classic, starring Alastair Sim and Margaret Rutherford as the battling heads. The play was revived in December 2003 at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, where the battling heads were played by Philip Madoc and Janet Henfrey and Joanna Riding took the scene-stealing part of sports mistress Miss Gossage (Joyce Grenfell in the film). Exchange joint artistic director Braham Murphy will direct the play again with Barrit and other new cast members for a tour and planned London transfer. Following a foot injury in November (See News, 6 Nov 2006), Barrit had to withdraw from the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Merry Wives - The Musical (replaced by Simon Callow as Falstaff to Judi Dench’s Mistress Quickly), but he’s on the mend and keen to get back on stage.
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