Aug 3 2019 | By More

Æ’s Young Critics see Summer on Stage

This EdFringe, All Edinburgh Theatre is mentoring four young actors from Edinburgh youth theatre, Strangetown, to hone their critical faculties from the other side of the footlights.

Having taken in the bend and snap of Legally Blonde, we turned our attention to the Lyceum’s Summer on Stage, with its two contrasting productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Teechers.

On the next page, Iskra Hearn and Suzanne O’Brien cast their eyes over Shakespeare’s Dream, but first of all here is Amy Quinn with her opinion of Teechers.

★★★★★    Nostalgic journey

Royal Lyceum: Fri 19 – Sat 20 July 2019
Review by Amy Quinn

For two nights, Lyceum Youth Theatre is transforming the Lyceum’s main stage into a local school’s hall for this production of John Godber’s Teechers, which tells the goings on of a school as told by it’s students with the assistance of their out of date drama resource cupboard.

Directed by Sophie Howell and Saffron Gillies, Teechers explores the daily hardships and banter that take place in a slightly dysfunctional school. This version is performed by a cast of 33 rather than the original versions number of three. This gives every cast member an opportunity to give a character more depth and personality.

Mr Nixon and some of the pupils in Teechers. Pic Aly Wight

The story is told partially through three fourth-wall breaking narrators who Max Lauder, Mathilda Chapman and Hannah Douglas-Walker make captivating with their audience engagement and individuality.

They tell their opinions about the education system, classmates and teachers, such as the over-enthusiastic Mrs Parry who can’t wait to put on a performance of The Mikado. Sophia Macchi Watts takes on this role and creates such a believable and bonkers character that it is easy to forget that she isn’t actually a middle aged teacher.

The story of a teacher called Mr Nixon is also told. He wishes to escape to teach at a private school and his story is what drives the play. His character is played by three different performers, Toni Renz, Jasper Harris and Louis Kennedy, throughout. All three embody him in the same intelligent manner and mustard blazer making it easy to realise that they are actually the same person.

This uncommon way of casting makes his story more intriguing and allows for more talented performers to showcase their skills, particularly Louis Kennedy who stood out as the most energetic and convincing Mr Nixon with his way of conveying emotions and his clear voice.

perfectly stitched

In every scene, a different topic and experience is covered, such as bullies, the future and awkward school dances. Each one is perfectly stitched to another with smooth transitions with their own meanings and quirky, funny moments. Therefore, the show flows well so each story is understandable and creates a realistic feeling of time passing. This also assists the distinctions between different setting and stories.

Some of the teachers in Teechers. Pic Aly Wight

Every performer is also clearly understanding the power of what they are saying, likely because the problems that their characters have affect them too. For example, Salty, played by Max Lauder, has an emotional rant towards Mrs Parry about how nobody really cares about young people like him. His desperation during this scene can be both seen and heard showing that these young actors know that acting is much more than just delivering lines and that they are handling important topics.

Everyone involved in this production manages to produce an experience that is thought provoking, hilarious and most importantly, nostalgic. The nostalgia makes this show capable of being relatable so that the audience members are comforted knowing that their problems and experiences are universal and that there are talented young people out their who are willing to tackle these issues that schools are sadly still riddled with.

Running time: One hour and 30 minutes
(Shown as part of a double bill with A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Royal Lyceum Theatre, Grindlay Street, EH3 9AX
Friday 19-Saturday 20 July 2019
Evenings: 7.30pm.

All Edinburgh Theatre would like to thank the Lyceum Youth Theatre’s Summer on Stage and Strangetown for their support of this scheme.

Iskra Hearn and Suzanne O’Brien’s reviews of A Midsummer Night’s Dream are on the next page here.

Emer Irvine as Mr Basford. Pic Aly Wight


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