Plain English is a one man comedy-drama play, written and performed by Terry Burns. It follows the trials and tribulations of Michael England, an idealistic newly qualified English teacher, as he starts work in an inner-city London school. However, dealing with belligerent, difficult and damaged students might not be the biggest challenge he has to face. That might be dealing with his Head of Department, the cynical, old school disciplinarian Mr Cooper and the ensuing clash of personalities and ideologies.
But might Mr Cooper, and the rest of the characterful staff from ‘coughers corner’, have a point? What is the role of teacher in ‘a school like this’, and would you even recognize when ou’ve crossed the line?
“Terry Burns effortlessly glides between a multitude of school characters with honesty, whit and poignancy. An incredibly well observed slice of the realities of school life. Hilarious and moving in equal measure.” (Matt Golledge, Head of Drama, Acton High School)
“These very recognizable characters are beautifully realised in Clara Onyemere’s economical production – Cooper, addicted to pickled eggs, is genuinely scary, appallingly unpleasant. Simone is touchingly emotional, Wayne is revealed as much more than his dickhead reputation – his rap is a highlight of the show…a brilliant tour-de-force” (Michael Gray’s Arts Blog â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…)
“I was much impressed not only with the versatility and power of the performance, but also with the wit and acute observation of the text. The play, without sentimentalising, deftly shows how idealism and patience can help transform young lives however unpromising circumstances may seem to be.” (John McDermott, former Head of Performing Arts, Barking College)
Simply the best. I read the flyer and thought I would like the show. In fact I loved it. Terry had obviously put a lot of thought into the story line, his observational skills are exceptional and his characterisation brilliant. I’m not usually a fan of one man/woman shows but this may have converted me. Well worth seeing (Valerie Swanborough, Ed Fringe website)
Come and see it! Or you’re all in detention!