Gilded Balloon Teviot, Edinburgh
August, 2002

** Stephen Fry's juvenilia staged by other Cambridge students

It must have been an endearing if slight student piece when it won a Fringe First in 1980, but a classic it ain't.

There's nothing big or clever about suggesting that public-school teachers are all unbalanced perverts of one kind or another, whether the kink be consensual paedophilia or punishment rituals. Both society's awareness and Fry's writing career have moved beyond this. But the Activated Image company know a good thing when they see it: they know that Fry's name will put bums on seats, and they know they can have a bit of fun staging the thing.

And so they do. Tom Noad in particular tries several times to ad-lib but sets himself off in giggles not so dignified when you're meant to be a sixty-ish teacher with a grey walrus moustache and a manner like Patrick Moore's more frightening father. Noad and Mark Farrelly as the effete junior Latin master both break out in titters when the noise of a heavy shower of rain threatens to drown out their dialogue.

Cambridge student companies are often unfairly accused of trading on their supposed status and the glittering reputation of certain of their predecessors. On this occasion, such charges are entirely warranted.

Written for

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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