Teach (3 stars)

This article is from 2019


Passionate personal memoir jam-packed full of issues and opinions

Teach is Matthew Roberts's third Fringe show, and in it he turns the spotlight firmly on himself: as a gay man, actor and, most importantly, teacher. From inspirational primary school lessons on Chinese dragons, right through to dealing with knife-wielding pupils in East Ham, this is Roberts' own story. It feels like a deeply personal show, too, and a searingly passionate one, as Roberts rails against the betrayal of true teaching values by head teachers and governments, while celebrating the transformational power of knowledge and understanding.

There's no mistaking the power and energy of Roberts' galvanising performance, as he rushes around the stage, colliding memories, episodes and opinions together to tell his story and demonstrate his arguments. But despite its gripping urgency, Teach melds together simply too many questions and issues for any of them to get the examination they deserve.

Instead, it feels at times like a dream-like succession of impressions, all building to form a picture of immense passion and immense frustration at the limitations of current educational practice. It's no surprise that many in the audience are teachers themselves, and there's plenty here that will no doubt strike unsettling chords with those in the profession – though also the occasional reference that's somewhat lost on a lay person.

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, until 24 Aug, 4.05pm, £8 (£6).


  • 3 stars

Bread and Butter Productions The lesson that changed his life. A school in struggle and strife. A government that uses a knife. ★★★★ (Scotsman, Stage, List, BroadwayBaby.com, FringeGuru.com, Boyz Magazine). ★★★★★ (ScotsGay, for Canoe). 'A born storyteller' (FringeReview.co.uk). Directed by Helen Tennison: 'fierce energy…