• Skyvvers


Production Information

Saturday 17 October 1981 to Saturday 24 October 1981 (3 performances)
at Hampton Court Theatre, Hampton Court House, Surrey, United Kingdom

Barry Reckord concentrates our attention on a group of five teenage boys in their last week at a comprehensive school. His hero is Cragge, the natural outsider, who responds to the discipline of neither the school nor the gang. Pursuing his own course, he defies the authority of both of them and, as a result, is physically punished both by his contemporaries and his elders. It has a strong implicit indictment of our educational system itself, it has the remarkable feature of authenticity both in its representation of the teachers and the boys themselves.

It is full of humour, it has a richness of language capturing the vigour and raciness of schoolboy speech, and it presents an aspect of our social life in a relevant, entertaining and intelligent manner.

by Barry Reckord

Review by George Allan (October 1981)

Youth Action Theatre's success is further demonstrated by its ability to mount two full-scale productions at the same time.

Director Eric Yardley was faced with such a wealth of talented youngsters that he has been able to present the musical Godspell for the week's run at Hampton Court Theatre and as an experiment, lunchtime performances of a full-length play Skyvvers, the first two performances of which were given last weekend, and there is a further one tomorrow. And believe me, it is no question of a second eleven!

Barry Reckord's play, set in a very large comprehensive school "in the recent past" is a bitter, despairing indictment of a system that has rendered an ideal down to yet another battle-ground of prejudice, apathy and impotent rebellion.

YAT brought such power to the performances of this play, that I forgot, for much of the time, that I was watching young non-professionals, particularly in the scenes played by the boys alone. Much praise must go to Richard Kerley as the central character, Cragge, whose potential is so cruelly and blindly crushed by teachers and fellow pupils alike. The sheer hopelessness of the boy was heartrending, and the sense of outrage that he felt was transmitted with unremitting force.

There was a devastating performance of the weak and uncomprehending headmaster from Simon Shelly, and John Hallisey made a good attempt at a young teacher who tries to react positively towards Cragge's rage.

Among the schoolboys, Keven Lewis was a vivid leader of the pack, with Richard Spice a willing follower of every turn of every tide. Of the two girls, Antonia Cunningham caught perfectly the cruelty of the sexual tease, while Frances West was touching as Sylvia, though both verged on inaudibility at times.

What a magnificient effort this was. With tauter playing it would have been superb.


Role Name


Role Name
DIRECTOREric Yardley