To Sir, With Love (Wolverhampton)
To Sir, With Love makes its way to the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. Kieran Johnson reviews E R Braithwaite's tale of what it means to be black in post-war Britain
E R Braithwaite's autobiographical novel is adapted for stage by Ayub Khan-Din in this terrifically relevant performance of To Sir, With Love.
The action follows the life of Ricky (Ansu Kabia), a teacher by default after being turned down for his dream electronics job, and his troublesome students. From the unruly teenagers that they start out as, Ricky educates not only them but also himself about the lives others lead. The touching story between the two completely different backgrounds comes full circle with a delightful outcome.
Whilst I was looking forward to the stellar acting capabilities of Matthew Kelly, his stage time is limited. His head teacher character of Florian is played with the wit and humour that has become expected of Kelly. A sure figure head of not only the plot but also the cast, it was a delight to see such a talented actor in his element.
Special mentions must be given to Mykola Allen (Denham), Kerron Darby (Seales) and Harriet Ballard (Monica) for the terrific performances. All relatively new to the industry, their performances truly stand out. Taking us from the hilarity of classroom pranks to the death of a family member, all of these emotions were translated with a great degree of compassion and humour.
Whilst To Sir, With Love touches on the racial aspects of what it means to be black in post-war Britain, I can only determine that it brushes the surface of the sensitive subject matter.
Playing for one week only at the Wolverhampton Grand, the show then tours nationally until 30 November.