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Humble Boy - Reading

Production Company:

Reading:              Sunday 16th June 2024, 6.00 pm, Foyer

Auditions:           Sunday 23rd June 2024, 6.00 pm, Coward/Yardley

Performances:  Tuesday 1st - Saturday 5th October 2024 (Coward Studio)




An interview with the director, Ben Clare


About the play

Felix Humble, astrophysicist and pessimist, returns to his family home for his father’s funeral. His waspish mother, Flora, has been quick to make the acquaintance of brash local businessman, George, whose daughter, Rosie, has a past with Felix. Neighbour, Mercy, prepares an al-fresco lunch to try and bring them all together.

Set in a beautiful garden in bloom that has lost its beloved bees, this richly funny and moving family comedy from award-winning Charlotte Jones first premiered at the National Theatre before transferring to the West End and Broadway.

‘A modern classic… very clever and very funny’ The Telegraph

‘Both funny and touching’ The Sunday Times


Felix Humble, 30s
An introvert. Quiet, but sharp and fiercely intelligent. A theoretical astrophysicist from Cambridge. Trying to come to terms with his father’s death. Returning home to mother, Flora, is hard for him. He was closer to his father.

Flora Humble, 50s/60s
Flora has a sense of grandeur and pretence. She’s waspish, cutting, and doesn’t seem to show much emotion, especially to her son, Felix. She seems to be moving on from her husband’s death a bit too quickly with the way she’s taken in by the charms of George. Has just had a nose job. 

George Pye, 50s/60s
George is brash, opinionated, upwardly mobile. He owns a local coach business. He’s a self-made man. He fancies Flora and is trying to woo her. Doesn’t care much for Felix and shows him little respect.

Rosie Pye, late 20s, 30s
Straightforward, single mother of a seven-year-old girl. She’s a nurse. Cares but is protective of herself. George’s daughter. Former girlfriend of Felix. She believes he’s the father.

Mercy Lott, 50s/60s
A neighbour of Flora’s and much put upon. She’s a bit awkward and old fashioned, but very compassionate and well-meaning. Much potential for comedy, particularly over a memorable incident to do with lunch in the play.

Jim, 50s/60s
Jim is the gardener. He talks passionately about the flowers in the garden and is dismayed at the bees being got rid of. He’s the only person Felix can truly confide in.

Audition information

Do come along to the reading if you can to hear the play aloud - anyone can read. If not please take a chance to read the play if you don’t know it already. You don’t need to prepare anything for the auditions. We’ll ask people to read in twos or small groups.  


Rehearsals will start at the end of June with a break from 7th – 21st July. Understandably, the summer is a busy time for holidays but you’ll need to be available most of August and all of September. 

I love this play. I first saw it at the National Theatre with Diana Rigg and Simon Russell Beale when I was seventeen and was wowed by what a funny and very touching family drama it is. Later it was a joy to work on publicising its sold-out Orange Tree Theatre revival with Belinda Lang and Jonathan Broadbent. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to direct it in the intimacy of the studio.

I like a collaborative rehearsal period to discover the play together. We’ll work hard to create the best possible show, but it’ll also be a relaxed atmosphere. 

Ben Clare



Play readings are not just for prospective actors, but for anyone who would like to join in reading the play – or just listen to it being read.  The readings are informal social occasions when the bar is open - we enjoy meeting new people and welcoming them to our club.  There is no obligation to audition for the play or even to read – and there’s no need to book, just turn up!

For more information