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Teachers Leavers 22 | Greenwich Theatre

School… whatever we thought of it at the time, we’ll often look back with a kind of rose-tinted nostalgia that makes us wish we were still there. It was simpler then, wasn’t it? There were fewer problems to deal with, weren’t there? The future was bright, right? That’s what we might think, but what Teechers Leavers 22 (a reimagined 21st century version of John Godber’s 1984 classic Teechers) reminds us is that school has always been a battlefield, no matter how well you did or how popular you were. There were always issues and always more than met the eye. It was like that back then and, it seems, it’s still like that today. That’s why Teechers Leavers 22 is such an important play, and as John Godber himself says, it’s perhaps even more relevant today than it ever was when he first wrote it.

With all that in mind, you might assume the play to be heavy, even difficult, but Teechers Leavers 22 is a triumph that sparkles with energy and fun from the start. The play follows three students, Salty (Michael Ayiotis), Hobby (Terenia Barlow), and Gail (Ciara Morris) as they perform a play they wrote to the whole school. They first performed it during lockdown over Zoom, and now it’s their chance to do it for real. It’s their chance to talk about how they feel about leaving school, how they wish drama was a core subject (giving the audience pause to wonder why it’s not), and to try, once last time, to stop their beloved drama teacher, Miss Nixon, from leaving. They want her to be there for all the students who will come after them who need a teacher who believes in them, just as she was for them. This is really her story, after all. What really sets Teechers Leavers 22 apart from other coming-of-age tales is its underlying theme of social inequality and the impact of education on the future. Through the characters' interactions and conflicts, the play exposes the flaws of the British education system and the harsh realities of class division. However, it does so without preaching or resorting to clichés, but rather by showing the power of resilience, determination, and friendship. It's a poignant reminder of the impact that teachers can have on young people, and the role that education plays in shaping our futures.

The characters in Teechers Leavers 22 are brought to life by a talented cast who delivers the lines with perfect timing and comedic flair. But as funny as Teechers Leavers 22 is, there is a sadness and an anger underlying it all. All the jokes, the silliness, the messing about, the make believe… it’s hiding what the students really feel, and in the moments when their true feelings come out, this play is heartbreaking. One of the most impressive aspects of Teechers Leavers 22 is the way the talented cast manages to play multiple roles, seamlessly transitioning between different characters with ease. Thanks to clever physical traits and distinct voices for each character, it didn't matter who played who, and the audience never got confused or lost. The actors were able to fully embody each role, bringing unique personalities and mannerisms to every character they portrayed.

The modern touches – more than touches, really, as they are integral to the plot – that have been added to the original material bring the classic play into the modern era with clever references to contemporary culture. The show's brilliant choreography features TikTok dances that perfectly capture the spirit of the times, while iPhones make appearances throughout the play, adding a touch of authenticity to the characters' lives. But the most impressive aspect of Teechers Leavers 22's modern take is its ability to incorporate the pandemic and even recent events such as Partygate into the storyline, making the play feel incredibly relevant and timely. This updated approach gives the show a fresh and exciting edge, allowing audiences to connect with the characters because they have been there and done that along with them. Overall, Teechers Leavers 22 is a hugely enjoyable performance that will leave you laughing, reflecting, and perhaps even shedding a tear. This play reminds us that education is not just about passing exams, but about discovering who we are and who we want to be. Teechers Leavers 22 is a theatrical gem that sparkles with laughter, heart, and inspiration, reminding us to always follow our passions and never give up on our dreams.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | Reviewed by Lisamarie (@thesetheatrethoughts)


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