After hearing my fellow Noises Off writers respond with delight to The SCRUBBERS Guide to Drama School, I wonder if I might have missed a trick. SCRUBBERS attempts to tackle the issues of classism rife in British drama schools. This show should speak to me. Whilst I have never auditioned for drama school, I did attend an audition day at a high-brow university and felt unwelcome, as my Birmingham accent and working-class background made me stick out like a sore thumb.
In SCRUBBERS, Lydia and Caitlin Scrubber guide us through S.L.A.G.S – an imaginary drama school that eliminates some of the barriers stopping the working classes, working-class girls in particular, from gaining places.
I respect Caitlin Magnall-Kearns and Lydia Crosland for performing live on Zoom, especially with a show that relies on an audience that is up for a bit of fun interactivity. After a ten-minute delay to the performance beginning, I was encouraged to become an honorary scrubber, quite literally editing my name in the Zoom room to reflect that, as Caitlin Scrubber and Lydia Scrubber encouraged. This was a nice touch, but it seemed to undermine the objective of them taking me through the steps of a successful audition process for S.L.A.G.S. Why do I need to audition if I’m already a part of this new drama school? Am I both a S.L.A.G and a Scrubber? It was a lot to get my head around.
Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the show’s concepts, (as drama school needs a bit of a shakeup!) I think too many ideas cluttered my ability to connect with the more intimate themes in SCRUBBERS. Some really lovely moments were buried under a few too many Gemma Collins quotes, rounds of compliment bingo, and Jane McDonald fangirl moments. One moment which stood out to me was where Lydia Scrubber opened up to us about an audition in London where she could not afford the train fare and instead decided to get on the TV show Coach Trip to get a free lift down there. This was one of the most engaging moments for me, but no sooner had it come, it was over.
SCRUBBERS gave me a good laugh. It was a nice break from the serious nature of the shows before it. I just wish it had slightly less Gemma Collins, and even more of the class and gender politics behind the performance.