Humble Boy premiered last August at the NT Cottesloe, where it starred Simon Russell Beale and Diana Rigg and had an extended sell-out run. On the day the play opened in the West End, with Felicity Kendal replacing Rigg, it won both the Critics' Circle and the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Awards for Best New Play.
In the current cast, which started performances on 9 June, Maria Aitken plays Flora Humble, the widowed mother of Adrian Scarborough's Cambridge astrophysicist, Felix Humble, in the comedy about broken vows, failed hopes and the joys of bee-keeping, which is based loosely on Shakespeare's Hamlet. They're joined by Anna Calder-Marshall, Sophie Duval, William Gaunt and Peter Blythe.
Producer Matthew Byam-Shaw told Whatsonstage.com that the show had been hurt by a lack of London tourists over the summer months but said he had no regrets. "We've had seven very profitable months in the West End and now we want to quit while we're ahead." Plans are already well advanced for a UK tour, a Broadway transfer and possible productions in both Australia and South Africa in 2003.
- by Terri Paddock