John Godber’s Teechers follows three Year 11 students putting on their end-of-term play, documenting the new Drama Teacher, Miss Nixon, during her first year at Whitewall School. Miss Nixon attempts to inspire her students to love drama, she also fights against the unfair system, and the temptation from local private schools. Salty, Gail, and Hobby, our Y11 storytellers, take us through the ups and downs of school life.
As the audience arrives, the actors are interacting with the audience as teenagers, Victoria Spearing’s set is simple but effective – a school gym floor covered in graffiti with three school desks and chairs, also covered in graffiti.
Godber wrote Teechers in the early 1980s and this production looks at whether those same issues exist now. Sadly, the answer is yes and some new challenges have arisen as well. Blackeyed Theatre gives Teechers a much-needed update with the characters (and graffiti) referencing Covid, zoom lessons, modern music, and social media – many a TikTok dance is utilised. This is carried out very effectively but with the world moving on so quickly, it would feel dated sooner than you would hope.
Actors Michael Ayiotis, Terenia Barlow, and Ciara Morris play our three students and a range of other students and teachers in the play (all 21 of them!). They all show strong characterisation as they transition from character to character with ease and conviction. Ayiotis’ face has a wonderfully humourous elastic quality, completely embodying every character. Morris is hysterical as the site manager and the French teacher. All three actors have so much energy, but Barlow stands out, bringing unrelenting energy, and an emotional quality to the performance which is truly moving – a beautiful performance.
Having performed this play for my A-levels (many years ago now) this play holds a certain amount of nostalgia for me and yet, as a Drama Teacher in secondary schools now it is scarily relevant. The chemistry of the cast, the wittiness of the script, and the well-choreographed transitions make this utterly watchable for the current secondary school students in the audience and those of us whose high school days feel far behind.
Teechers Leavers ‘22 is witty, slick, and poignant.
The title of this winner of Theatre 503’s 2023 International Playwriting Award by Roxy Cook may seem like the set-up to a joke, but the narrative that unspools is instead an affectionate, gently barbed and at base quite sobering portrait of three ordinary souls (and one restless feline) adrift in modern Moscow. There is much affable, satirical back-and-forth commentary on the accepted myths & stereotypes of the Russian spirit & soul. Beset by the indignities of age, opportunism, graft, fatigue, the characters orbit one another, doomed to play out their roles in an unjust, predatory and saturnine universe. The play opens … More A WOMAN WALKS INTO A BANK – REVIEW – THEATRE503
Peter Pan Goes Wrong first premiered in London at the Pleasance Theatre in 2013, and earlier this year the show made its Broadway debut. Now the production is back in the West End for the Christmas season. Following on from The Play That Goes Wrong, in this production, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is staged by the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society and goes awry, disastrously so. The meta-comedy is filled with slapstick comedy, sometimes the humour may be predictable and silly, but it’s universally funny throughout – there is something for everyone here, and the laughs come thick and fast … More PETER PAN GOES WRONG – REVIEW – LYRIC THEATRE
Drawing heavily from the classic canon of the British supernatural, High Tide’s trio of contemporary Gothic narratives uses traditional storytelling formats to address contemporary themes. Directed by Elayce Ismail, reverent musical interludes accompany tales of apparitions and nighttime conjurings that speak of women from the East of England. Unfortunately, the effect is less chilling and more lightweight, with conventional structures, predictable plot twists and an over-reliance on external forces to drive narrative shoring up some of the less relatable aspects of the genre. Nicola Werenowska’s The Beach House, perhaps the cleanest of the three tales, tells of a mother and … More GHOST STORIES BY CANDLELIGHT – REVIEW – SAM WANAMAKER PLAYHOUSE
Drum roll please…(Cue a literal drum rolling across the stage.) The Lyric pantomime is one of traditions with the return of many well-loved jokes and skits. Costumes and sets are all made at the Lyric itself by Good Teeth, with set pieces being reused year on year. This year Cinderella gets the Hammersmith makeover, with some success. The costuming is fun and vibrant, with the ugly stepsisters’ equine pyjamas and hoop-skirted ball gowns giving all the wrong kinds of extra you need for those characters. Cinderella’s on stage dress transformation is magical and really well-timed. The Dame, Lady Jelly-Bottom’s, outfits … More CINDERELLA – REVIEW – LYRIC HAMMERSMITH
Amy catches up with Linus Karp ahead of his performance of Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story, at London’s Clapham Grand. Linus and Joseph of Awkward Productions are also the masterminds behind the new show Gwyneth Goes Skiing. Hello Your Majesty/ Candle Entrepreneur, how are you feeling coming back from a hugely successful fringe and triumphant tour across your kingdom, ahead of performing in front of 700 of your loyal subjects, and before (the list never ends!) opening a brand new show, which has recently gone viral? Exhausted, exhilarated and alive. We’ve had the most ridiculous year – I feel … More INTERVIEW – LINUS KARP – DIANA: THE UNTOLD AND UNTRUE STORY