James is currently appearing in Philip Pullman's Grimm Tales www.GRIMM-TALES.co.uk at The Bargehouse, OXO Tower Wharf, South Bank
James Midelnehm Byng has been bothering the entertainment industry for many years now, but remains to this day a walking, semi-literate, enigma.
Once known for his dry wit (see 'comically underactive saliva glands'), hilariously inaccurate anecdotes and self-defecating personality; James was an established during-dinner speaker and raconturd.
Sadly, in the summer of 1996, James' ability to be simultaneously attractive and engaging mysteriously vanished and James was forced to turn to a career on the stage.
Praise for THE HISTORY BOYS from bribed critics...
"A particular stand-out is James Byng as the fragile Posner - a musically-gifted, impressionable Jewish boy coming to terms with his homosexuality. Byng's talent is astounding, from comic, camp sketches to tear-jerking songs, to the occasional intense, expressive glance more articulate than words."
Daily Info Oxford
"Stealing the show with a heart-melting performance has to be Posner, played by the incredibly talented James Byng whose well-judged comic timing is only equalled by his ability to bound spectacularly around the stage while belting out several hypnotic songs."
Yorkshire Evening Post
"It is without any doubt that the cast assembled on the stage are some of the best young actors that the industry has, however James Byng as Posner gives one of the most heart warming and touching stage performances that I have seen in recent times and a singing voice to die for."
"It is in moments like the emotionally and sexually charged silence shared by Posner (an appealingly open, saintly voiced James Byng) and Hector that are enthralling, knowledge and desire stretching out as the two sit side by side"
"The pupils' performances are uniformly strong, though James Byng's Posner is gifted one of Bennett's best lines: "I'm a Jew. I'm small. I'm homosexual. And I live in Sheffield. I'm fucked.""
"James Byng gives a remarkably touching performance as the vulnerable Posner infatuated with a classmate."
"Of the boys, James Byng is brilliantly heartbreaking as the fragile, infatuated Posner, and hilarious as Posner doing Celia Johnson in the Brief Encounter scene."
"There are some excellent performances including James Byng as Posner, the rather sad boy who happens to be gay and Jewish - an outsider."
"James Byng is on scene-stealing form as the achingly emotional Posner"
"They took Bennett's hilarious ability to uproarious proportions, one particular highlight being the tragic Posner's definitive line: "I'm Jewish. I'm homosexual. And I'm from Sheffield. I'm fucked." The audience barely allowed the wonderfully graceful-yet-strangely-sexy James Byng to finish before exploding in a unanimous burst of laughter."
"All are worthy of mention, but I have to give particular praise to James Byng who plays Posner, the gay History Boy. His movie impressions such as that from Brief Encounter are absolutely hilarious and his comic ability is evident throughout. On the other side, however, there is also a tortured and confused character in Posner, which Byng never loses sight of. A truly great performance."
"James Byng as Posner was in turn pitiable and pitiful, with a stunningly unique voice worthy of his West End credentials."
The Herald - Scotland
"Posner is awakening to his own homosexuality and is brilliantly and movingly played in this revival by James Byng. He also leads most of the well placed songs with a voice like gold."
Latest 7 Magazine - Brighton
"There's a new production by West Yorkshire Playhouse - so the accents are spot on - and last night, at Mold Clwyd Theatr Cymru, I studied the line-up trying to work out who will be the future Big Names. My money would be on James Byng, who plays Posner - great voice, great acting."
Daily Post North Wales
"A wonderfully judged performance with excellent singing skills."
"Exceptional performances from James Byng (Posner) and Ben Lambert (Irwin) both playing out different forms of unrequited love."
UK Theatre Network
"James Byng's performance as the confused, gay Jewish boy Posner deserves particular praise."
"Posner, masterfully played by James Byng"
"Most impressive of all is James Byng as Posner, the runt of the class, whose lovelorn looks at Dakin and subtle hints at victimhood are beautifully played. He displays a superb singing voice, too, which only adds to the poignancy of his torn heart."
"James Byng was superb as Posner, the Jewish lad struggling with his sexuality and unsure of his emerging feelings. He's my tip for the big time, boasting a fine singing voice, great acting skills and a comedic touch."
"Posner (James Byng) portrays powerful on-stage sexual chemistry. Byng's character - gay and Jewish - adds thoughtfulness in an environment of tomfoolery and his moving solo successfully takes the audience back to those times during your school days when you felt lost and lonely."
"In comparison with the fantastic James Byng as the ever-suffering Posner, we see what might have been"
Oxford Theatre Review