Helen Jones enjoys going back to school with this new production of Teechers.
1 May 2014
It is 1987 and Lilian 'Hobby' Hobson, Ian 'Salty' Salt and Gail Saunders are about to leave school. But their one last task to to perform a play that they have created with the help of their drama teacher.
Before he had arrived the previous September there had been no Drama provision at the school and these three had been direction-less. Drama had given them an outlet.
John Godber's play, written in 1984, is very much a product of it's era, but also shows that in many ways young people haven't really changed that much over the generations. The play within the play is based at Whitewall School, a school where even the teachers want to leave.
A new and enthusiastic drama teacher arrives but doesn't have an easy time coping with both the apathetic pupils and the personalities of the adults. The three pupils play everyone, from the three pupils, through other pupils, all the teachers and other various characters involved.
Tupele Dorgu (Hobby), Peter McMillan (Salty) and Amy Thompson (Gail) all work incredibly hard to create not only their main characters but the myriad of others. Each main role is carefully created, and Tupele Dorgu is especially effective as the gawky, clumsy Hobby. But she does not overshadow the brilliance of the other two performers.
Using a simple set by Graham Kirk, John Godber has directed one of the best productions of his play that this reviewer has seen. Nothing is overplayed, everything is well controlled and well drawn. The setting is further created by clever use of the pop music of the time.
This production would make the perfect introduction to the writing of a modern playwright.