Fringe review: Teacher in the House is fabulous on the stage

Teacher in the House show turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. Truthfully I wasn’t enthusiastic about hearing a woman recount her experiences as a New York teacher who instructs sick kids out of their homes. Her pupils aren’t able to attend school because they suffer from serious illnesses are emotionally troubled or have severe physical challenges.

In general stories about teachers and kids don’t grab my attention and a play that deals with sick kids sounds particularly depressing. However performer (and co-playwright) Susan Jeremy completely sold me on the show.

Jeremy has fabulous stage presence. She’s tall. She’s loud. She’s funny. She lopes boldly across the stage. (And her New York accent doesn’t hurt either.)

She shares with the audience how her own battle with cancer inspired her to become one of these “elite” teachers who instructs sick kids. Audiences meet some of her pupils from a little boy with Attention Deficit Disorder who likes to “talk through his toys” to a severely disabled 13-year-old girl who comes from a very loving colourful Hispanic family.

Jeremy tells her tale — and the tales of her pupils — in such an uplifting spirited way that you don’t leave the show despressed and crying. In fact you spend much of the time laughing. (At least I did!)

The only question I have for Jeremy is “What the heck does the car break-in have to do with the rest of the story?”

Teacher in the House won Best of Fest at the Winnipeg Fringe in 2012 and I can see why.