Gotcha

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Gotcha

It incurred the ire of Mary Whitehouse when it was broadcast as a BBC ‘Play for Today’ in 1977; today, Barrie Keeffe’s hostage drama set in a comprehensive school looks crude rather than shocking.

The action takes place on the last day of term in a storeroom, where a pupil has parked his big brother’s motorbike. When he finds his loathed PE teacher – who indulges in the kind of physical and verbal bullying that would have him facing immediate disciplinary action now – and an attractive female colleague in an illicit clinch there, he locks them in and threatens to set the petrol in the bike’s tank ablaze with a smouldering cigarette.

He’s unclear as to what his recklessness might achieve; all he’s sure of is that he’s been written off by those who should have nurtured him. Poppy Burton-Morgan’s production is competent, but inevitably static, and Keeffe’s dialogue woefully heavy-handed. And while there are still plenty of education-related issues worthy of theatrical exploration, there’s nothing revelatory about this dated piece of polemic.

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