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Posts Tagged ‘paul kemp’

Adapted from ER Braithwaite’s book about his own experiences, this is the story of an intelligent and well-educated young black man, who having fought for Britain in WWII, is faced with racism when he tries to find work after the war.  He ends up as a teacher in a rough London school, where his pupils have no respect for adults and no interest in learning, because they don’t expect to be able to do anything with their lives.  Despite the difficulties he initially faces, he perseveres, and teaches the children that to earn respect from others, they must first respect themselves.

Ansu Kabia was wonderful in the lead role, bringing a dignity to the part that has long been lacking in the schoolroom where he attempts to prepare his students for adulthood.  Matthew Kelly was also great, although maybe slightly underused, as the liberal headmaster, who does not believe in discipline, and I loved Nicola Reynolds as ‘Clinty’ – a no-nonsense teacher with a great sense of humour.  Paul Kemp played a good part as a racist school teacher, who lacks any respect for his pupils, but who is also affected by Rick Braithwaite’s intelligence and dignity.

I loved the scenery – it was very clean and spare, and the cast cleverly incorporated the scene changes into the action.  The story had many funny moments, and a few uncomfortable ones, when the audience sees the racism shown to Rick by others.  The ending left me with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.  Overall, a great show, well worth seeing if you get the opportunity.

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