Review – Teechers @ Theatre Royal, Wakefield

First performed in 1987, Teechers hit Wakefield’s stage again following a successful autumn tour, re-cast with three fantastic actors including Tupele Dorgu from Coronation Street.  Multi award winning writer John Godber, who directed this version of Teechers, has created a stunning success with this fast-paced ‘play within a play’ about school life. Teechers really is down to its bare essentials; minimal set and three actors playing over 20 parts.

Three school leavers – Hobby, Salty and Gail – have created a play about their time in Whitehall, a school with a bad reputation. They get up on stage in front of their teachers to perform this play, explaining that they have changed all the names and will be playing multiple characters. The three take you on a journey, from the arrival of their drama teacher Mr Nixon to when he leaves to work in St George’s; a school with a good reputation.

The story has ups and downs, from Mr Nixon fancying glamorous P.E teacher Jenny Prime and Oggy Moxon the school bully scaring the teachers, to nasty Mr Basford losing in the tennis tournament.

It’s perfectly clear you’ve come to see a production about school when you enter the auditorium to school desks and P.E equipment. A simple set used cleverly throughout the play, the three actors rearrange the stage at the changing of each scene, and store all of the props and costumes in the onstage desks. Silly glasses, scarves and a large nose for Mr. Basford are stored ready for quick character changes.

There are fantastic performances from all three actors, and the array of different characterisations and accents they use are stunning. Peter McMillan plays the young and idealistic Mr Nixon perfectly, gently delivering us a serious message about equal opportunities in schools. Amy Thompson playing Gail gave an upbeat turn as she danced her way through the music at scene changes.

Godber has truly created a timeless masterpiece with Teechers.

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