Bush Theatre, London – 1 June 2019
What is it? Two parents come to talk to the teacher of their nine-year-old son Jayden. What they learn is that he is not learning in the same way as the other students, and when they are recommended to have him see an educational psychologist, the three realise that this situation is a lot more complicated than they had originally thought.
What’s it all about? Donna (Sarah Morris) and Brian (Stephen Jones) are separated, but they have both come in to see Mr McCafferty (Will O’Connell), who would like to talk about their son Jayden. He is learning at a different speed to the other kids, and is having trouble with his literacy skills. Brian thinks this is completely normal, he’s a nine-year-old kid and he will catch up eventually, but Donna is wary.
As Mr McCafferty tries to explain that this situation will not get better but will in fact only get worse with time, both parents feel the pressure of their separation and in turn are forced to remember their own experiences in school and how it made them feel.
Mr McCafferty has good intentions but finds him self over stepping his mark on more than one occasion resulting in a confrontation that is extreme and sudden. Throughout the piece the classroom scene is broken up by snapshots of Jayden and his teacher at a later date, and the “Homework Club” that he and another classmate Kaylie have to attend.
The students are played by Morris and Jones and these interjections colour the piece with the emotions and honesty of the children in the middle of the drama. As the piece builds to a close, but time frames come together, the truth of the characters is revealed in a blunt and harrowing manner.
How did it make me feel? This was such an engaging show, and its 95 minute run time came and went before I realised. The casting is bang on, with all three cast members shifting and moving their power throughout. Sarah Morris is particularly brilliant, with her switch between woman and child being seamless and genuine. Iseult Golden and David Horan are a writing and direction dream team with their words being lifted beautifully off the page by the actors, as well as the shape and interjections being perfectly timed throughout. The set by Maree Kearns was also lovely, and extremely detailed in creating the schoolroom atmosphere the show so needed. Class is brilliant at examining how communities differ and how the education system can so often highlight these socio-economic differences. By focusing on their strained marriage, as well as the struggles of families even worse off than theirs, we are able to understand that universal struggle of everyday people and how it feels to be discriminated and questioned for things that often cannot be controlled. It also shines a light on the prejudice toward those with learning diffuclites and the mis-information and lack of knowledge surrounding these difficulties. Class underlines the need for conversation around various types of learning and the ways in which we can successfully move forward with them. Where Is It Playing? Class is playing in the main space of the Bush Theatre, and breathes and flows with ease in this lovely venue. Anything Else? Class is an emotive and clever show that and is able to portray real people in a succinct and gentle way. Amy x Class is playing at Bush theatre until the 1st June 2019. If you like my reviews and want to support this blog feel free to buy me a virtual coffee here!