Teechers is a play with more than 20 different characters – but only three cast members, so anyone picked to take on a role has to have versatility at their core.
And it’s fair to say that in this production, the creative team at the John Godber Company made some great choices.
I have to admit I was curious about whether Frances Wood, who found fame on the BBC’s singing competition The Voice, would rise to such a challenge, but in the words of a talent show judge (or coach, if we’re talking The Voice), she ‘smashed it’.
Along with Laura Bryars and James Dryden, she shares the roles of everyone from school teacher to bully and headmistress, and a host of glorious pupils and teachers in between.
Teechers is very obviously a play written by a former drama teacher (Godber), and that’s what makes all of the characters so believable and genuinely funny – he certainly knows his stuff.
Wood was best when playing the overly exaggerated character roles, like teachers Maureen Whitham or Jackie Prime, but also charming as Gail Saunders – one of the three narrators.
Dryden seemed better suited to the role of idealist drama teacher Mr Harrison, but also raised a laugh when taking his turn as the very posh headmistress.
Although it will be Wood with her recent TV fame who will probably take up most reviewers’ column inches, the star of the show for me was Bryars.
Whether it was as the understated Hobby, her high-pitched headmistress or her hilarious take on the school bully, she was both endearing and scene-stealing.
The production will now tour the country, and I’m sure it will be as successful as the company’s previous tours.
Catch it while you can. Visit www.theatreroyalwakefield.co.uk for dates.