Boys of the Empire
The World Premiere of THE CUSTARD BOYS
Based on the novel by John Rae
Adapted and directed by the Bafta-winning
creator of Taggart
'Chandlerís brilliant observation of boysí behaviour...
Like a darker, more grown up version of Just William...This
production could easily work on a much bigger stage in
the West End....
Read the full review here
A play about love, war and
Five London schoolboys are evacuated to a Norfolk
seaside village, far from Hitler's bombs.
They want to fight for England but are too young to join
up and too old to wait. They join
the school army cadet force and learn to fire rifles,
they form a gang and play at being
soldiers. But it is not real war.
"An excellent evening with performances to
match...the pace zipped along throughout."
"Comparisons between Lord of the flies are inevitable.
What makes The Custard Boys even more shocking is that
it occurs in a civilised society"
"The talented young ensemble excels...the cast scamper
around Cecilia Carey's boys own adventure set with
terrific invention." The London Magazine
"Strong character performances...Chandler's easy
direction allows the ensemble to switch effortlessly
between realism and fantasy to maintain pace and
interest throughout." The Stage
"Excellent...projects the theme that war is war,
something bloody and terrible, that in real life it
isn't a glorious game."
British Theatre Guide
"A strong story about the wastefulness of war. An
entertaining thought-provoking evening." ChiswickW4.com
Sixteen year old John Curlew dreams of being a Spitfire
pilot. Mark Stein is Jewish and
a pacifist refugee who hates the war and longs for it to
end. When these two boys are
thrown together and form a romantic bond, their
friendship splits the group and invites
fear and prejudice. But it is a challenge to a rival
gang which becomes the catalyst for a
sinister train of events. While men die in their
thousands overseas, in a small corner of rural
England a group of schoolboys embark on a final war game
which will lead ultimately to
The Custard Boys was filmed in the 1960s as Reach for
Glory and is a story of sexual
awakening, loyalty and betrayal which was compared upon
publication to Lord of the Flies.
Glenn Chandler began his career in theatre before being
invited to create and write a detective series for
Scottish Television. The first story was called Killer,
but this evolved quickly into Taggart which became the
longest running television detective series in the world
and won a Bafta for his special contribution to Scottish
broadcasting. He has also written true-crime dramas for
Yorkshire Television and a number of novels. He returned
to theatre in 2008, producing his own play Boys of the
Empire at the Edinburgh Festival.
Boys of the Empire Productions had its genesis in
Edinburgh in 2008 with Glenn Chandler's
biting Iraq war satire Boys of the Empire, and a revival
of Patrick Wilde's ground-breaking
What's wrong with Angry? Scouts in Bondage followed at
the Kings Head, and last year
Cleveland Street The Musical played to sell out houses
at Above The Stag.