A play full of timeless characters and constant wit, Teechers is a play for all ages.
Written by: John Godber
Starring: Jacob Addley, Lucy Benson-Brown, Brad Clapson
Blackeyed Theatre present a revived version of John Godber’s 1987 production of Teechers.
The play follows Salty, Gail and Hobby as they present their end of term play and the highs and lows of gaining (and losing) a new teacher.
Before the play had even begun, there were murmurs throughout the theatre and quiet giggles, it soon became obvious that the three actors were in fact in the audience.
The audience interaction and acknowledgement was emphasised throughout the production and as it was a play within a play, the cast would often break the fourth wall to tell the audience of incidents that happened directly.
Produced by Blackeyed Theatre, who specialise in reviving modern classics and staging established titles in innovative ways by using small sets and casts, it was no surprise to see three desks and three chairs as the entire set.
This allowed the audience to focus more on the actors and as it was stripped backed to the bare essentials it reinforced just what can be achieved through imagination.
As soon as the play begin, the audience (and cast) had to use their imagination but it was something that the cast constantly kept stressing to the audience through direct dialogue.
The performances really showcased the talents of the actors and it was clear that all three of them have had a background in theatre schools but that is not a criticism, but more of a praise. They were all exceptional in their role.
Because of this, it is difficult to really pick out any particular actor who made the show the hilarious sell-out it was.
As all three actors played, in some cases, the same character at some point throughout the play, they all added their own level to the show and emphasised the comedy that Teechers is.
Salty, played by Jacob Addley, who was reprising his role as the lead character brought to life the struggles of a modern-day 16 year-old who is about to leave school and what his future is. He easily fitted into the role of Salty and showed his talents as an actor and a dancer.
Gail, who was played by Lucy Benson-Brown, performed well as the only female in the production and performed what can only be described as a ‘fan girl’-esque character in a way that made the audience bellow with laughter.
Out of the three cast members, however, Brad Clapson who played Hobby was exceptional. His acting, dancing and general stage demeanour had the entire audience roaring with laughter from the opening scene.
His transformations into various characters, including females, was a true work of theatre and it was clear that he had fun performing in this role.
Originally, the part of Hobby was played by a female but this did not seem to affect the play’s dynamics and Clapson really took the role to heart and performed to a perfect level.
There was the odd dialogue mishap but the cast were not put off by it and just continued and managed to improvise their way passed it successfully.
Directed and produced by Blackeyed Theatre’s founder Adrien McDougall, there was no instances where something looked out of place.
The directing, choreography and costumes complimented the comedy elements that the play utilises.
As stated, the play is a timeless classic and in this production, they used contemporary music ranging from Ed Sheeran through to Frozen (much to my dismay) but it just reinforces the timelessness of the production and it can be catered for future generations.
Initially thought to be a pure comedy, as the play progressed it did seem to have more of a deeper meaning and looked at the idea that school students are alone after they leave school with no one to guide them but the play emphasised that ‘it’s part of growing up’.
Alan Bennett’s 2004 History Boys could be seen to take inspiration from Teechers as there were some similarities through the concept of bonding with a new teacher.
The play is touring across the country and is set to be staged in Newark and Holt over the next few days. More information can be found at www.blackeyedtheatre.co.uk.
Anyone of any age with no doubt enjoy Teechers and more importantly everyone will, at some point, be able to identify and relate to scenarios that occur.