SUITS & BLOUSES - Review by Helen Taylor
Richmond & Twickenham Times - May 28th 1999
Orange Tree, The Room

Uniform issue

A cracking little play is currently playing at the Orange Tree Room, the little theatre above the Orange Tree pub.
Suits and Blouses, a new play by Ian Buckley, directed by Richard Cullen, is playing as a complementary piece to The Last Thrash by David Cregan in the main auditorium of the Orange Tree Theatre until June 5th.

Cregan's play is about a public school but Suits and Blouses is set in a state school where the headmaster Peter (Ewan Thompson) is making some changes calculated to enhance the standing of the school - and an insistence on members of the sixth form wearing some sort of uniform is a pivotal issue - hence the title.

The headmaster is the sort of busy committed chap determined to make a good fist of the business of running a school. One of his senior teachers, Marion (Kaye Quinley) whilst going along with many of his ideas would also like to be perceived as sympathetic to the sixth formers concerned.

Jez (Ian Warwick) a recent addition to the staff is much younger and much more idealistic about the control these young people should have over their own lives. The fact that he is having a relationship with the rebellious head girl Sarah (Sophie Rickman) makes his position even more interesting.

The action takes place on a Saturday while a table-top sale is taking place in the hall as a fund-raiser towards some new building which will further improve the school.

One of the delights of this piece is the immediate recognition of the characters - they are all people we have known. The play bristles with ideas about progress and reform, attitudes and perceptions about education and growing up. It deserves to be seen.