Set in an English country garden, ‘Humble Boy’ by Charlotte Jones is a fresh take on Hamlet with its melancholic main character, Felix Humble, an ill-adjusted, inadequate astro- physicist whose attempts to conceive a general theory of everything have come to nothing.
He returns to his late father’s Cotswold garden to find his beloved bees have disappeared and his mother preparing to re-marry a man totally unlike her late husband.
James Humble had been an unassuming biology teacher with a passion for the quiet pastimes of gardening and beekeeping; boyfriend George Pye is a brash and randy entrepreneur with a taste for big band music.
Chris Powell plays Felix, a cumbersome, tongue-tied figure who cannot stumble across a garden hose without using it to illustrate the finer points of string theory before twisting it into a noose.
In this gently observant play, writer Charlotte Jones’s manages to combine complex science with acute, comic characterisations that echo Tom Stoppard at his finest.