Lord Dismiss Us is set in the posh and privileged world of a boys boarding school and writer Glenn Chandler’s language is sharp, full of quips and wonderfully precise. The conversations and exchanges are totally believable. This is a play about power struggles: who is ruling the roost, the masters or the pupils? Is snobbery a product of education?
Joe Bence as Nicholas Allen and Joshua Oakes-Rogers as Terry Carleton are phenomenal and play their respective roles with an air of assertiveness that carries the production along with a blissful briskness that is also clever and witty. Both have mastered their roles and portray a wonderful study in upper class manners and actual politeness with an eloquence that is also exquisite. Chandler tackles the subjects of sadism, bullying, falling in love and being forced into exile because of what you are, with great skill. Special mention has to be made of David Mullen who superbly plays the dual roles of the homophobic headmaster Philip Crabtree and the wistful Reverend Cyril Starr. His use of body language is put to good use as he alternates between the two characters.
Once again the Above the Stag Theatre has a Boys of the Empire Production – based on Michael Campbell’s 1967 novel – that is truly in a class of its own.