Assembly Hall, Edinburgh
Wow. This is a hidden gem of a show if ever I saw one, and well-deserving of a bigger audience than tonight’s meagre crowd. Maybe it’s the title that’s uninspiring and failing to draw the punters? It’s certainly not the performance.
Because Vivienne Acheampong can REALLY act. This is a one-woman show that packs a heavy punch: it’s a sharp and witty piece that engages right from the very start. We’re in Tiddlesworth Primary School, where we meet a whole host of characters: there’s Miss Marshall, the pregnant teacher whose vocation means she has no life outside her job; Ty’Quan, the challenging student with ambitions to make it as a rapper; Sheila, the casually racist lunchtime supervisor, who misses the way things used to be. Acheampong embodies each one effortlessly; this is clever, sly, insightful stuff, and it’s beautifully done. We’re reduced to helpless laughter when a terrifying supply teacher forces us to take part in a recorder lesson, and I’m in floods of tears when Acheampong ends the piece with a heartfelt poem about the state of education in England today, and how it lets our children down (this has a particular resonance for me, as I’ve just quit teaching after twenty-two years because of the very issues that she highlights here).
There’s real talent at play in this show, and it merits a wide audience. Miss it, and you really will miss out.