Bashir Lazhar

Evelyne de la Cheneliere; English translation by Morwyn Brebner
Wishbone Theatre
Assembly George Square

This is a moving and sensitive play about an Algerian immigrant who moves to Canada and finds a job as a substitute teacher to grade six, following the traumatic suicide of the class's female teacher ironically named Madame La Chance.

The set is an intriguing roller blackboard filling the back and floor of the stage on which Bashir constantly writes in chalk as well as on his own clothes and the desks and chairs.

It is a story about the rigours of being a substitute teacher, building relationships with the pupils and the demonic principal who does not approve of his unorthodox teaching methods.

Its narrative explores loss, innocence and intolerance. There is a deep sense of personal bereavement when his family are betrayed whilst in Paris and perish in a fire.

His own application for political asylum is finally refused which adds to this play's poignancy.

Michael Peng is a consummate actor and storyteller. He has the ability to keep the audience enthralled by his sterling performance that was of the very highest standard.

Kimberley McLeod gave worthy support as the young schoolgirl.

This is certainly one show that you should not miss.

Reviewer: Robin Strapp