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September/October 2010
'Teechers' - John Godber

By Sue Lupton - Friday, October 8, 2010
(reproduced by kind permission of
the Isle of Wight County Press)

ARE troubled teens more troubled now than in the 80s, I wondered after seeing Trinity Theatre’s production of the classic classroom comedy Teechers.

Written in 1987 by prolific teacher-turned-playwright John Godber, Teechers is a play-within-a-play with a cast of three. Together they play more than 20 different characters, both students and staff.
Trinity’s cast was Fiona Gwinnett, Peter Stockman and Jo Adams, who obviously relished the opportunity to don their scruffy uniforms, go back to school and cause havoc as teenage delinquents.

Although the script was gritty up to a point, I wished it had featured more about issues relevant to high school students.

Although it wasn’t, in my opinion, a particularly realistic depiction of angst-ridden teenagers, as a comedy, it worked well.

The cast hammed it up, constantly and dizzyingly switching between characters. The pace and dialogue kept the audience laughing.
Stockman, as the idealistic new drama teacher, Mr Nixon, faced the challenge of inspiring the no-hope students of a sink school. Having succeeded, albeit in a limited way, he baled out and accepted a job at a posh selective school.

Meanwhile Gwinnett and Adams made very convincing obnoxious adolescents.

The script included plenty of pithy one-liners — most memorable was the description of the way students were treated: "Like rhubarb, kept in the dark and pi**ed on."

The soundtrack was brilliant: Dire Straits, Pink Floyd and lots of other 1980s favourites.

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