Printable CopyTEECHERS
Australian Education Union South Australia
Until 03 Mar 2018

Review by Sarah Westgarth

This is the first time the Australian Education Union has put on a show for the Fringe Festival and it’s a decision I applaud. I may be a little biased though; as a Drama teacher myself, I greatly appreciated this ode to our profession. Performed in the Union building, the audience was mostly made up entirely of educators, as evident by the knowing chuckles throughout the show, and it was a feel-good production that highlights the great work done in public education.

“Teechers” is play within a play about three final year students who put on a show as a tribute to their Drama teacher, who is about to leave them for a private school. The three actors take on all the roles, with simple props and costumes used. This version has been adapted to include local references, and it’s a charming little story that raises some important issues about education. On its surface, it’s a silly little romp about a public high school, getting most of its laughs from the characters we in the profession (or, indeed, anyone who went to school) know all too well. Deeper than that, though, the play questions why only families with money are able to get access to the top facilities and resources, and highlights the flaws in the traditional education model. It recognises that the most effective teaching is borne out of respectful relationships, not training young people to fit a certain mould. It gets all this across without ever feeling preachy, and it’s a credit to scriptwriter John Godber, and the three actors in this production. They take on all their roles with great enthusiasm, and while there’s a line missed here and there, or a moment that doesn’t quite land, the characters all come to life in the hands of these three women, and considering many of them are derelict teenage boys, this is quite an impressive feat. The play is funny and sweet and sincere, and performed with great love.

This is ultimately an amateur production, not even set in a proper theatre with the normal theatrical facilities, but it reaches the goal it sets for itself. “Teechers” pays lovely homage to those who work in the difficult field of education, and I truly hope the Union is a part of the Fringe next year with a longer run of performances.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)