Drawing on her own experiences as a teacher in an inner-city school, Vivienne Acheampong fuses character comedy with audience participation to bring to life a day at Tiddlesworth Primary School. A series of hilarious and boisterous characters are crammed into the 60 minutes of Rainbow Class, from the outrageously politically incorrect lunchtime supervisor Sheila, to overly confident head cook Eric Reginald Wilson.
Acheampong’s storytelling abilities are exceptional. Each of the characters is vastly different from one another, and she embodies them completely. In particular, it is the fearless Mrs Oluwofobi, who is outraged that she cannot take her son on holiday without incurring a fine, who is the most entertaining. Acheampong perfectly captures the character’s expressions and accent, defining her mannerisms with precision. While all schools have some “troubled” children, like Ty-Quan, the hyper-animated young boy who always finds himself in trouble, they also have quiet ones too, who would rather spend time with their teachers. So alongside the plentiful humorous characters, Acheampong doesn’t hesitate to include a very sobering one to the show in the form of a young girl called Gillie-Anne, who spends her lunch time with the dinner ladies, and then goes home to look after her mum.
The versatility of Acheampong characters is what makes this performance so entertaining. Her infectious energy is doubled when the audience finds themselves in a music lesson with the new supply teacher, a very skilled recorder player. Be prepared to have fun and get involved in this hour of brilliant story-telling.
Rainbow Class is at the Assembly Hall (Baille Room) until 28th August.