Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Knowledge - Review

OMG what a performance, what a great piece of theatre. The Knowledge is written by John Donnelly. John is a English writer and has taught is several schools in the UK. It is from his experiences that he has generated this compelling, confronting, tense piece of drama.
Being English and been educated through the comprehensive system in England and a former teacher this work brought back many memories that I had tried to suppress.  This play is depressing, it touches on everything that can go wrong with the Education system. However, the way it has been constructed and written makes you laugh time and time again. It is fast paced, full of energy and heaps of humour that you almost forget the misfortune of the characters.
Zoe played by Silvina D'Alessandro is a probationary teacher, her first job and she unfortunately lands herself with the Citizenship class. The class that nobody wants to teach. There is Karris played by Karli-Rae Gorgan she is the dim witted blonde who will drop her knickers for anybody who shows and interest. She is full of life but sadly has little hope for her future beyond school. Then there is Sal played by Isaro Kayitesi, she sees life as it is but can barely read. Mickey played by Benjanim Ross is the bad lad. He has trouble controlling his temper and his month and typically thinks that the world owes him. Then finally there is Daniel, the quieter more brooding boy who one day might just snap. All the children do not have ideal backgrounds. Finally, there is Harry (Barry French) and Maz (Brett Rogers) who are there to support Zoe but unfortunately they are less than supportive. Maz seduces Zoe as he does with many female teachers and students. Harry is one of the senior staff members is more worried about OFSTED (the British schools inspectors) and trying to cover things up than face the true.  The play is very intense you are never too sure what is going to happen next or how things are going to turn out.
The acting is superb by all the actors. The script is so well written and not an easy one for the actors either. It is very face paced and the quick witted humour is brilliant. The way some of the scenes are conducted, like the sex sense with Daniel and Karli is hilarious.  The direction by Rebecca Martin is very good, having taught herself I expect the success of this is partly down to her knowledge of children and the education system.
This production does contain cause language and adult themes and if you are planning go into teaching this may put you off. However, I would highly recommend it, it is certainly one of the best I have seen this year, congratulations pantsguys Productions who presented this in association with The Spare Room.
The Knowledge is playing at the New Theatre until the 3 November, for more info click here.

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