Trust Me, I'm A Drama Teacher

Seemingly at the end of his tether, a teacher sits, tie loose, marking work, clearly frustrated to say the least. Describing himself as grumpy, sad, but creative, Rick Wood’s opening number of this new devised piece of beat poetry musical theatre establishes the fact that this will be a show replete with observational humour, centred around the working life of a drama teacher in a secondary comprehensive school. Though immediately evident that this is a show set for success among audiences made up of teachers, there is enough in the writing to satisfy viewers less familiar with such classroom favourites as differentiation, leading staff training, and ‘gifted and talented’ initiatives.

Almost all of the students' antics will be relatable to one’s own school days

Indeed, it is Wood’s rapid-fire witticisms that drive this piece along. What is at times lacking in rhythm and articulation finds some salvation in sharply drawn and deeply felt misconceptions of teaching - just don’t mention part-time work, summer holidays or performance-related pay. Almost all of the students' antics will be relatable to one’s own school days. The opening episodes do feature some effective lines, though not a small number of the rhymes are excruciatingly forced, even for a piece consciously mocking itself – at least in part. There may well even be more of value in the text than is always revealed, as the vocal delivery at times struggles to maintain pace with the pre-recorded soundtrack, rendering some lines incomprehensible.

Somewhere in the middle of the piece, however, something changes. In a departure from surface-level observation, Wood hones in on the experience of one particular student and thereby creates the drama needed for a real emotional investment. In this partly autobiographical piece, it is abundantly clear that the persona of the teacher cares deeply about the well-being of this student whom he knows has a difficult home life. Through a number of anecdotes building towards the climax, Wood effectively presents the moral and professional dilemmas faced by teachers when the role becomes more than just dealing with the academic subject.

In the most effective example of his poetry, framed as a phone conversation with a parent towards the end of the piece, Wood shows that his writing does work well when the rhythm flows fluently. Equally, the conclusion works well with some clear character development. Though he feared that a reviewer might not get a lot of the references in the show, this one (who is also a teacher) did – it perhaps remains to be seen whether a more varied audience would respond in the same way. 

Reviews by Joshua Clarke


A Gentleman's Game

Assembly George Square Theatre

How to Win Against History

Assembly Roxy

A Streetcar Named Desire

C venues - C nova

A Number by Caryl Churchill


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Harry is a drama teacher. Tired and downtrodden, he ends up being moved by the life of one of his students. Both funny and touching in equal measure, this play explores the issues in education and the teacher/student relationship, in a one-man play performed entirely as a beat poem.

Most Popular See More

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets