‘Am I going mad with post-election grief and fear, or was the kids’ show, Our Teacher’s a Troll, at Summerhall, really a call to overthrow a corrupt government?
In the lean two-performer piece, an evil troll, imaginatively conjured from empty space by flickering lights, takes over a school, chews children’s heads off, sets the survivors to work in a gold mine, and eventually humiliates and oppresses even the compliant staff who thought they might benefit from collaborating with it. Sound familiar?
The troll, brilliantly, justifies its cruel actions by reference to a garbled reading of natural law, not dissimilar to the survival-of-the-fittest theorising that appears to underscore neoliberal free-market dogma, as espoused by the current crop of Conservative trolls from Sajid Javid to George “pencils” Osborne.
Of course, the two dozen under-eights sitting around me weren’t necessarily responding to the story on this level, although a caricature of a dissembling politician seemed universally recognisable, even to infants barely able to speak, who gurgled self-aggrandisingly at his appearance, like horrible West End theatre audiences do at a joke about some supposedly unfashionable brand of kitchenware.’ Stewart Lee, Guardian
‘A celebration of naughtiness and questioning, it's a raucous, skin-crawling treat.’ Guardian
‘A hilarious dark fable.’ Herald
‘Dennis Kelly does it again. Not content with unsettling us adults with his dark TV show ‘Utopia’, he’s decided to redress the balance and see how much the kids can take... You never actually see the troll but Kelly’s vivid, gruesome descriptions make it feel as if it’s right there in the room with us.’ Time Out
‘Our Teacher’s a Troll…has all of the wit, grotesque humour and naughtiness of Dahl's best, not to mention some resourceful kids and vile, useless adults.’ What’s On Stage
‘[The solution] is a far superior moral twist, one that mocks self-aggrandising authority and finds the value of understanding an alien culture - while giving the production space for pure adrenaline fun all the way.’ Stage
‘Dennis Kelly has delighted children of all ages with his book for Matilda the Musical. Our Teacher’s a Troll is written in the same spirit and will provoke just as much enthusiasm,’ British Theatre Guide