It’s not often that a trip to the theatre so massively exceeds expectations…
My friend, Barty had a part in the production so despite the rather grim title I took myself and my lovely friend Rachel who is herself a thespian.
The premise of the script is a gruesome tale of an inner school secondary school; the author, Vivienne Franzmann is herself a teacher of some 10 years experience in the field. I’d guess that it is a bit of a battlefield and from my old housemate, Debs’s experience of Islington schools this was pretty tame stuff.
‘Amanda, a well-intentioned, white teacher in a London school, finds herself pushed and shoved by the bullying Jason when intervening in a playground fracas. In her anxiety not to see Jason, who is black, suffer academic exclusion, she refuses to lodge a formal protest. But the tables are turned when Jason accuses Amanda of assault and racial abuse. And, when Jason coerces his gang into corroborating his story, Amanda finds herself suspended, subjected to an official investigation, and threatened with visits from social services to see whether she is fit to bring up her teenage daughter.’ (The Guardian)
Sounds like an intense university production I know, but then Barty is a friend and has a good track record in picking excellent productions. So off we went and my goodness was I glad that I had done so. It was ‘sick’ or in my language ‘fantastic, brilliant or superlative’. Although this is the early days for the London production, pre-press night the transfer has gone well; you would have thought that the cast had been doing it for a while, except that it was very fresh and very engaging. We lapped it up.
Surprisingly given the relatively grim subject matter it was also very funny in parts in the way that real life can be funny; there was quite a lot of audience comment during the production which could have put the cast off. The comment and occasional catcalls perhaps due to the younger members of the audience identifying with the production and not being able to contain themselves, either that or they thought that they were in their own living rooms shouting at the telly. There was one amazing scene without a single word which made me cry with sadness, I guess that is a sign of a good performance.
This was a first time script which won the big playwriting award last year and in its first production and is therefore a bit of a landmark and I bet that the Royal Court is kicking itself for not picking it up. The first run was at the Royal Exchange in Manchester and now it has transferred to Hammersmith, good for them I say. I hope that the press give them a good time on Tuesday morning, I expect they will so get your tickets before they are sold out.
Finally I’d just like to say I’m not a critic but if I was I’d give this 5 stars and it is times like this I wish I was more eloquent; you’ll just have to take my word for it and go see it. The Lyric Hammersmith until 2nd April 2011 and it only costs a tenner!