Class

Iseult Golden and David Horan
Traverse Theatre
to

Class, which has been produced in association with Dublin's Abbey Theatre, attempts to explore issues of class through the medium of a schoolroom.

Will O'Connell plays Mr McCafferty, the kind of stage teacher who has a nasty habit of getting himself into the kinds of scrapes that develop plots.

Before the play opens, he has already had a run-in with the violent parents of one particularly unpleasant nine-year-old but has no intention of stopping there.

The play follows two different interactions. First, the teacher attempts to elicit assistance from Brian and Donna, respectively played by Stephen Jones and Sarah Morris, the parents of unruly Jayden.

Unfortunately, the teacher's message that their little boy has learning difficulties and could possibly be dyslexic does not get conveyed as smoothly as might have been the case.

The parents, who are separated, worry about the consequences, Brian soon looking for someone to blame and becoming very threatening with unlikely consequences.

In the other stream, we witness Mr McCafferty teaching two pupils in need of remedial assistance, the aforementioned Jayden and Kaylie, also the product of a broken home.

In the space of under 90 minutes running time, Mr McCafferty manages to get into two major fights with parents, while also needing the guidance of a nine-year-old to avoid breaking the cardinal rule.

As such, the plotting feels desperately contrived but even so the issues that are taken on remain important and are, to a good degree, explored fairly and tactfully.

Philip Fisher