It is obvious that writer/director Rachel Creeger knows what she is talking about in Time2Shine’s production of Staffroom. She has a great deal of experience of working as a School-Home Liaison Officer and Child Protection specialist and Drugs worker in London Pupil Referral Units.
This enables her to convincingly open the staff room door on the Parkview Behaviour Support Unit. And what a privilege it is to discover what goes on behind closed doors in, not just an ordinary school, but one where children have emotional and behavioural difficulties.
The cloistered atmosphere becomes an island. The personalities and problems of the teachers coming out as they rub shoulders. It’s not just the pupils who have problems. The staff do too in this realistic play which suffers at times from being too slow moving and I find the constant ringing of the bell irritating. It signals how at times, everything is regmented for staff and students but once the point is made, it becomes distracting.
More humour would have contrasted nicely with the depressing atmosphere among the staff although there is a delightful episode when an audience member is singled out by flirtatious teacher, Louisa (Karly Friend).
The cast create well the stifled atmosphere of the staff room but I especially like Louise Morell’s delightfully understated performance as head teacher Diana and Sophie Cartman’s Sarah, Head of Pastoral Care, who tries to understand what makes the kids tick.