City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Education, Education, Education, Pleasance Dome, Review


By Kenneth Scott - Posted on 18 August 2017

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Show details
Venue: 
Pleasance Dome
Company: 
Wardrobe Ensemble, Royal & Derngate Northampton and Shoreditch Town Hall
Running time: 
80mins
Production: 
Jesse Jones and Helena Middleton (co-directors), Lucy Sierra (designer), Katharine Williams (lighting designer), Ben Grant (sound designer), Felicity Jones (wardrobe designer), Bea Roberts (dramaturg), Hannah Smith (producer).
Performers: 
Tom Brennan (Paul McIntyre), Tom England (Hugh Mills), Emily Greenslade (Emily Greenslade), Kerry Lovell (Louise Turner), Jesse Meadows (Susan Belltop-Doyle), James Newton (Tobias), Ben Vardy (Tim Pashley).

It’s the first day for Tobias, the new German language assistant at an ordinary English comprehensive school. He is excited to be here; the world has been watching the resurrection of cool Britannia, with its new-found pride in heritage and the Spice Girls.

Things seem to be getting better, staff members have sat up watching Tony Blair’s election win and people are actually smiling, but the staff room is fuelled more by tea than optimism and the school is falling short of acceptable standards.

Today is going to be a test for them all. It’s Muck-up Day, the last day of term, marked by student pranks. Ms Turner takes inspiration from Robocop in shooting down trouble, while hyperbole prone Mr Mills takes a more inclusive, positive view seeing opportunity through every door.

Meanwhile Tobias casts a dispassionate eye over facilities that leave a lot to be desired and teachers struggling to keep their head above water.

Besieged are over obliging teacher Ms Belltop-Doyle and rebellious, angry pupil Emily who are both deemed in need of bucking up their ideas. They are both being failed by the system while pressurised teachers bicker over ideologies.

When interactive learning of Arthurian legend becomes a pitched battle, things are pushed to a precipice. Good intentions don’t get grades and the problem with hope is that it can lead to unmitigated disappointment. Can things can only get better?

This engaging devised piece is extremely slick with fast paced choreographed action, 90's soundtrack and high production values. The polish is such that it initially slides over some of the issues, but does settle to Socratic debate in questioning how and why we got here. A couple of plot elements are telegraphed so that they can be seen coming.

A lesson in good entertaining theatre.

Show Times: 2 – 27 (not 15, 25) August 2017 at 5.20 pm.

Tickets: £8.50 (£7.50) to £11 (£10).

Suitability: PG