No Child ... (4 stars)

This article is from 2010

No Child ...

One-woman performance schools the school system

Actress Nilaja Sun plays actress and drama teacher Miss Sun and her class of students as they put on the play Our Country’s Good, which is about convicts putting on a play. The logistics of one woman flitting from grizzled custodian to idealistic teacher to a plethora of hardened, rebellious and disenfranchised teens with no costume changes and at a foolish speed are dizzying, yet Sun’s tour de force performance(s) give this production its strength.

As a damning critique of the New York City school authorities it is powerful without preaching, sidestepping easy solutions and relying on an emotional evocation of the situation to tell the whole story. Sun cannot be praised highly enough for the skill and diversity of her chameleon-like turn. Vaulting the gap between under-privileged Bronx teenagers and Edinburgh’s white middle-class audience, under the direction of Hal Brooks, she illuminates a script that is nuanced in its emotional reach rather than histrionic or clichéd, making this one lesson it is a pleasure to learn.

Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 30 Aug, 2.20pm, £11–£12 (£10–£11).

No Child...

  • 4 stars

A heart-wrenching tour de force and joyous exploration of the New York City public school system by acclaimed actress and teaching artist, Nilaja Sun. 'Marvelous! Touching and funny.' (New York Times); 'Brilliantly funny' (Associated Press). Ages: U

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