Humble Boy, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Humble Boy is a comedy about broken vows, failed hopes and the joys of bee-keeping.All is not well in the Humble hive.

Thirty-five-year-old Felix Humble is a Cambridge astro-physicist in search of a unified field theory.

Following the sudden death of his father, Felix returns to his middle England home and his difficult and demanding mother, where he soon realises that his search for unity must include his own chaotic home life.Humble Boy premi red at the Royal National Theatre, London, in August 2001, and transferred to the Gielgud Theatre, London, in 2002.

The play was the winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Award 2001, the Critics' Circle Best New Play Award 2002, and the People's Choice Best New Play Award 2002.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Plays, playscripts
  • ISBN: 9780571212873



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

This British play is a compelling family drama about what happens after James Humble dies in his garden, leaving his astro-physicist son, Felix; his demanding, imperious widow, Flora; and her bumbling, drunken and besotted long-time lover, George Pye, to battle over what they need from each other. George’s daughter, Rosie, Felix’s once-jilted lover, is also around – the cool-headed one of the bunch.There are a lot of complexities, twists, anger, hurt feelings, and pure humor in Humble Boy. Rosie may sum up the theme of the play the best: “Time doesn’t heal, but it accommodates.”

Review by

A play about science, this one about entomology. A bee keeper dies, and his son, a theoretical astrophysicist, returns home for his funeral. This brings him into direct conflict with his mother, who has seized the opportunity to get rid of the bees, and who is having an affair with a local businessman. Mostly a decent play about the difficulties of human relationships. The only truly likable character in the play is the gardener, a mysterious man who arrives and departs at strategic times in the play, and is part of a twist in the ending. The author should have checked her scientific facts a little more closely, however, as entomologists are not likely to spread the misinformation that a bee is aerodynamically unable to fly. I particularly enjoyed the ending scene in the garden, where botany takes the lead for a few minutes, an unusual foray into the world of scientific nomenclature, and a treat for a plant taxonomist.

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