Educating Ronnie (4 stars)

This article is from 2012

Educating Ronnie

Compelling true-life fable engagingly told

Joe Douglas’ day job may be that of professional theatre director, but his one-man show is based on a strand of his own life that’s far richer than anything he could have made up. The story dates back ten years to his gap year in Uganda. Alongside volunteering and white-water rafting and ‘all that clichéd gap year shite’ he met Ronnie, a Ugandan boy, similar in age and interests. Months after returning to Stockport he received a text from Ronnie, asking for £20 a month so he could finish school. Joe agreed, but as the years passed and Ronnie’s requests for cash increased while Joe struggled to pay off his own student loan, he began to grow suspicious.

Douglas doesn’t flinch from addressing the difficult questions raised by his actions. What are his motivations? Does helping one person really make a difference when so many are struggling? The question of whether or not Douglas was wise to trust Ronnie drives the drama, but there are surprising twists along the way and a conclusion that’s satisfying though not facile. Douglas admits he’s not primarily an actor and his delivery could perhaps do with more variety. But he is armed with a gentle charm and a gift of a story with much bubbling away beneath its surface.

Assembly George Square, 623 3030, until 26 Aug (not 20), 1.15pm, £10–£12 (£8–£10).

Educating Ronnie

Joe Douglas' one-man show about his friendship with a Ugandan boy and how what began as a request for help turned into something much more complicated.

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