REMEMBER the hope and excitement that followed the Labour victory in 1997, just days after Katrina and the Waves sang Love Shine a Light and won Eurovision for the UK?
That’s when the Wardrobe Ensemble’s award-winning devised play, set in a failing comprehensive, all starts. It’s also the day that Tobias, a German exchange teacher, joins the school.
Winner of a Fringe First award and critically acclaimed wherever it has been performed, the play continues on its tour and filled the Salberg Studio at Salisbury Playhouse every night.
The company is made up of actors who met at one of Bristol’s theatre hothouses, and they got on so well they decided to form an ensemble to devise, write and tour new works that dissect the 21st century experience. Their work is about high-energy presentation and highly disciplined choreography that retains a spontaneous and sometimes violent joie de vivre.
Education Education Education harks back to another time when politicians were promising to hurl shedloads of money at schools and teachers … another time when the students (who surely should be the most important focus of the system) were little more than yo-yo-ing pawns in the parliamentary games.
The Wardrobe cast – Tom England, Emily Greenslade, Kerry Lovell, Jesse Meadows, James Newton, Greg Shewring and Ben Vardy – leap from impassioned or cynical teachers to difficult pupils in a helter skelter 80 minutes of discipline, hope, sex, favouritism magic realism and chaos.
It is as entertaining as it is chilling, evocative and inevitable.
The tour continues to Southampton Nuffield from 8th to 12th May, before heading for Northampton, Hull and Ipswich.