Admissions review – Trafalgar Studios (and touring)

My next stop is a visit to Admissions at Trafalgar Studios before it heads off on tour.

(As a Doctor Who fan, it’s a treat to see Alex Kingston on stage in the same week as Jenna Coleman in All My Sons.)

Joshua Harmon’s play packs a lot about race, diversity, privilege and white liberal angst into a fairly shouty 100 minutes.

Kingston plays Sherri, the head of admissions at a private boarding school in the US, who is proud of the advances she has made in improving diversity among the student intake.

In the opening scene, she passionately explains to her colleague Roberta (Margot Leicester) why the school prospectus needs to reflect the real world.

But Sherri’s progressive credentials are put to the test when her son Charlie (Ben Edelman) has his university place at Yale deferred while his mixed race friend Perry gets in.

This leads to an epic rant from Charlie in front of his shocked parents about “box ticking”. It’s a pivotal speech that earns Edelman a round of applause for his efforts (and a much-deserved drink of water).

Director Daniel Aukin keeps the story engaging – even when it’s forcing the audience to ask themselves difficult questions – and makes great use of the static kitchen set.

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Photo: Johan Persson

The strong cast of five is completed by Andrew Woodall as Sherri’s headteacher husband Bill and Sarah Hadland (Miranda’s Stevie) as her friend Ginnie, who also happens to be Perry’s mother.

If you like your comedy with an uncomfortable edge, seek admission here.

Admissions is at Trafalgar Studios until 25 May and then touring to Richmond Theatre (27 May – 1 June), Cambridge Arts Theatre (3-8 June), Malvern Theatres (10-15 June) and The Lowry, Salford (17-22 June).

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