Teechers at the Studio Churchill Theatre
Teechers by John Godber is a fast moving comedy that takes a look into the life at rough local comprehensive. Salty, Gail and Hobby put on a play in their leavers assembly where we meet the different teachers at the school, focusing on the new drama teacher, Mr Nixon.
Whilst Teechers was written in 1984, this production by Guilford Fringe Company on the whole still felt relevant. Whilst teachers and students now face problems posed by mobile phones and social media this play focuses on things that unfortunately haven’t changed. There is a focus on funding with envious glances towards the nearest school with an all singing and all dancing drama studio. On top of this we look at students behaviour, underage drinking and teenage infatuation. There were a few points which underlined when the show was written, the fact that lude jokes are written on a blackboard for example stood out.
Whilst there were many serious underlying messages throughout Teechers they were all delivered in a humorous way. However the success of the show relies on the ability of the actors to play numerous roles.
Salty, Gail and Hobby were played by Sam Stay, Dannie Harris and Elle Bansted-Salim. All 3 brought a great energy to the stage, switching between character instantly. The variety of characters were played between them all, from school hard man Oggie who Stay, Harris and Bansted-Salim all played to PE teacher Miss Prime. All 3 actors took on the multitude of roles and whilst they may have added an accessory or an item of costume, their body language for each character was so distinct that these often these accessories were surplus to requirement. The success of Teechers hangs on the ability of the cast to switch from role to role and this cast more than fulfils their brief.
There were nice directorial touches. The tennis match, portrayed with a huge tennis ball on a stick for example was a clever way to portray what happened in a clever and inexpensive manner in a small space. I would have liked to see more of these abstract ideas to give the show even more of ‘school play’ feel.
Teechers is a fun play which had me reminiscing over my own school days. Whilst the script is slightly outdated the abiity of the cast to play multiple roles and the fact that it was fun whilst still making some difficult points won me over. B+ on the report card.
Teechers is running at the Studio Theatre at the Churchill until Sunday 8th September. For tickets visit their website.