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The Knowledge @ New Theatre - Review

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by Nini (subscribe)
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A play to captivate, challenge and broaden your mind

You know when you walk into the theatre and on the blackboard coated walls, there is an inordinate amount of four-letter words and chalk drawings of "unmentionables", you're in for a confronting, but realistic representation of British high school life.

In this play written by acclaimed British writer John Donnelly, you get a shockingly frank, disturbingly accurate and unexpectedly humorous glimpse into the dark, punishing abyss that some may face in the unstable education system.


When the time comes for Zoe (Silvina D'Alessandro) to pass her final test in becoming a certified teacher, the circumstances she finds herself in go from unfortunate and trialling to utterly surreal. Harry (Barry French) the eccentric principal of the school and Maz (Brett Rogers) head teacher of Science (as well as a renowned "ladies man") will be accompanying her on her travels and preside over her fate.

It comes as a minor speed-bump that she has been given the difficult task of wrangling the class of misfits. Typical of any school, there are the students that are simply misunderstood and are yet to meet that one teacher that can break through their troublesome crust and coax out there inner brilliance. Mickey (Benjamin Ross), a tough one to crack, the class rapscallion, or some might simply say, a massive pain in the arse. Karris (Karli-Rae Grogan) could be considered to be, how should I say, a little misguided when it comes to the opposite sex but a most endearing girl none the less. Sal (Isaro Kayitesi), a tough cookie who speaks her mind. Then there's Daniel, a softly spoken boy who keeps his head down for the most part, but has more to him than meets the eye.

Zoe isn't one to give up easily, so she's taking a stand and is determined to get through to these kids - no matter what unconventional methods it may take. With unique relationships coming into fruition with each of her students, she feels promise, but life is unpredictable and doesn't she end up knowing it.

Let me first say, I absolutely loved this play. A minor issue I often have when it comes to mainstream productions is sometimes the dialogue and situations just don't ring completely true, but with this play that is most definitely not the case. I can honestly say that with this play you get complete and sometimes shockingly full disclosure. I'm a broad-minded person, I'm not averse to a bit of crude language or a taboo topic here and there, so while I was surprised at the nature of the content at first, I wasn't disturbed by it. I'd simply never experienced such candour in the theatre. As I was watching I thought, wow, this is the stand out actor of the night, but I really would be hard put to pick the most compelling performance, as they all went above and beyond for their characters. This production is not for the faint-hearted (or conservative), but in saying that, I really hope people of all walks would open their minds to such a well produced, directed and above all, well acted play.

New Theatre was born from the ideal of wanting to provide the opportunity and avenue for one and all, where raw artistic expression would be encouraged, embraced and showcased. They should be applauded for their passion and fortitude.
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Why? An awesomely confronting night at the theatre
When: Oct 10 - Nov 3: Tues - Sat @ 8pm, Sun @ 5pm
Phone: 9519 3403
Where: 542 King Street Newtown
Cost: Full price ticket $30, Concession $25
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