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Teechers: Lichfield Review

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
Hilarious comedy set against backdrop of 'Haves & Have Nots'
For a comedy, John Godber's classic play about life at a struggling 'sink' school certainly pulls no punches when it comes to dealing with the still relevant issue of 'haves' and 'have nots' within the education system. After previously bringing the genre of horror to the Lichfield Garrick stage with hugely successful shows about Frankenstein and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Blackeyed Theatre turned their attention to comedy in this revival of their highly acclaimed production of Teechers.

Rosalind Seal as Hobby (left) Jake Addley as Salty, and Nicole Black as Gail in John Godber's Teechers

The show, which was performed at the Lichfield Garrick on March 15 as part of a UK tour, is given a brand new broom in this 2018 production which has been revived under the direction of Adrian McDougall. Featuring an up-to-date music soundtrack, Teechers brings to life an array of larger than life teachers and pupils in the extremely capable hands of just three actors who effortlessly and frequently switch characters at the drop of a school cap. The supremely talented Rosalind Seal, Nicole Black and Jake Addley are principally employed in the roles of Lillian 'Hobby' Hobbs, Gail Saunders and Ian 'Salty' Salt, three 15-year-old pupils who discover the joy and belonging of drama classes in their final year before leaving school for good.

Gail, Hobby and Salty stage a play for their teachers before leaving school

Together, the school leavers put on a performance for their teachers, especially drama tutor Mr Harrison (who becomes Mr Nixon in their play). It is Mr Harrison, aka Mr Nixon, who has ignited their passion for the live stage, partly through his belief that all children should be treated equally - just as he is tempted with an offer of a job at a much better resourced, and better performing school nearby, where the pupils are also much better behaved. As well as the principal roles of Gail, Hobby and Salty, the three-strong cast also perform a myriad of other, diverse characters throughout the play, some 20 in all. These include Nicole's smouldering PE mistress Miss Prime, Lillian's overpowering headmistress Mrs Parry, and Jake's very impressive Mr Nixon, who has to weigh up his conscience with the prospect of working in a much better school.

Jake Addley as Mr Nixon try to engages Gail (left) and Hobby

Through the eyes of Salty, Gail and Hobby we also get to meet the likes of disciplinarian teacher Mr Basford, who sends his own children to the 'posh' school down the road, school hard case 'Oggy' Moxon, who even the teachers shy away from, and crusty caretaker Doug, who doesn't think 'Whitewall High School' is suitable for teaching drama. With such a fine array of unforgettable characters, the humour is never far away, with particularly hilarious moments including 6ft 7in pupil Peter Saxon's attempt to run away from school, Hobby, Gail and Salty re-enacting a scene from the film Frozen, and Gail and Mr Nixon dancing together at the school Christmas party.

The stage is bare apart from 3 desks and chairs

Blackeyed Theatre
, which has more than a dozen years experience of producing shows, will continue to tour Teechers throughout the UK following its appearance at the Lichfield Garrick theatre on March 15.

Rating: 5 out of 5. Excellent marks!

Teechers continues on its 2018 UK tour

Forthcoming UK shows

Mar 19 Stahl Theatre Oundle 01832 273930
Mar 20 Haymarket Theatre Basingstoke 01256 844244
Mar 21 The Lights Andover 01264 368368
Mar 23 The Berry Theatre Hedge End 023 8065 2333
Mar 24 Dorchester Arts Centre Dorchester 01305 266926
Mar 26 Medina Theatre Newport, Isle of Wight 01983 823884
Mar 28 White Rock Theatre Hastings 01424 462288
Mar 29 The Alexandra Theatre Bognor Regis 01243 861010
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Why? Hilarious Comedy From The Pen Of John Godber
When: March 15 to 29
Phone: 01543 412121
Where: Lichfield Garrick, Castle Dyke, Lichfield WS13 6HR
Cost: Lichfield tickets £18 adults, £14.50 concessions and students
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