Jonathan and Julian Kaufmann both have a great deal of direct experience in teaching. It's unsurprising, therefore, that their comic musical, School Ties, is a sharply observed view of classroom life.
An all-female cast of four slip between the genders to find the funny side of all aspects of our school days. The new kid, the innocent (but all important) relationships, the peer pressure and even the bullying come under their lab microscopes. Everything culminates at the cringeworthy end of term disco - and even that is just another opportunity for the pyromaniac kids.
Kate Ankers, Amy Spicer, Liv Boorman and Karen Boniface play multiple and distinctly different characters to hilarious effect. These girls are all natural comics. They also deliver Julian Kaufmann's score with confidence as the numbers move from parody to melancholy with a flair somewhere between Victoria Wood and Tom Lehrer. Jonathan Kaufmann's direction is understated and effective, and the energy created from the start is retained until the very last note is sung.
This is a slick production, which premiered at the Fringe in 2003. The acting is good, the singing is excellent and the script is funny. Mind you, even after a positive review, I imagine the teacher will still want to see me after class for bad grammar. Sorry sir.