REVIEW: Education Education Education (Pleasance Dome) ★★★★★
Education Education Education is written and devised by The Wardrobe Ensemble, a Bristol based group of artists working to write and tour new plays. Formed in 2011 they have produced work that has toured nationally and internationally.
Taking its title from Tony Blair’s speech committing his new government to investing in schools, Education Education Education is set on the morning after Blair’s first election victory in a comprehensive school with teachers inspired by this new opportunity while dealing with the last day of school before the Year 11s go off on study leave.
The narrator is Tobias, a plain talking German language assistant on his first day at the school played by James Newton who embraces the droll young man with a secret love for British music. This outsider’s view allows the school, its staff and students to be put under the microscope.
Tom England plays Mr Mills, the well-meaning Headteacher, in contrast to Kerry Lovell’s straight-talking, no nonsense Miss Turner, Head of Discipline. Tom Brennan and Ben Vardy play Mr McIntyre and Mr Pashley, teachers of History and PE while Jesse Meadows plays Miss Belltop-Doyle, the kindly English teacher. Emily Greenslade plays Emily, the troubled student challenging all the teachers with her bad behaviour.
This show is set to a soundtrack of hits from the 1990s, often accompanied by choreographed fights, chases and general rocking out by the cast. This is a high energy production presenting the complex relationships at play in a large comprehensive school and shining a light on a time when hopes were high in the education sector in stark contrast with the current situation.
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans