Review - Education Education Education at Royal & Derngate, Northampton

The cast of Education Education Education
The cast of Education Education Education

If you feel nostalgic for the Nineties, at the time when Cool Brittannia was on the airwaves, Labour seemed to promise a brighter and better future and where Titanic was the most popular movie ever made.

Anyone who remembers those times with fondness will have plenty to enjoy in Education Education Education, set the day after the general election in 1997 at a time when Labour promise billion of pounds pumped into the education system.

But there's a culture clash between the hope and optimism that surrounds the staff at Wordsworth Comprehensive and the problems that came about due to dithering by the amiable but indecisive head Hugh Mills.

This is perhaps more sharply bought into focus by James Newton's Tobias, a new German teacher who narrates the show with a deadpan humour that made even the darkest lines some of the most laugh out loud moments of the piece.

In fact, with a shortish run time but no interval, all the actors very much earn their stripes. Emily Greenslade playing bizarrely Emily Greenslade is the troubled pupil who sums up the chaos and the problem while Jesse Meadows gives plenty of heart to the holistic teaching styles of Susan Belltop-Doyle. Kerry Lovell is formidable as the no nonsense Louise Turner while Ben Vardy's Tim Pashley undergoes a transformation from gruff PE and occasional French teaching substitute Tim Pashley and Greg Shrewring as the opitmistic Paul McIntyre.

The minimal set though is effortless transformed throughout the 80 minute run time and among the few people who I knew were teachers in the audience, there was plenty of sage nods about the fact that perhaps 20 years of funding and all that hope and optimism has well and truly being transformed.

But this is in no way a polemic piece of work, it's packed with music from the era, lots of laughter and a crackingly well told story. Even Pink Floyd might venture after watching this that we do need some education.

The show runs until Saturday October 14. Tickets for the show can be booked by calling the box office on 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk.