The boy at the back of the class

Malvern Theatres 


Looking back to our childhood days we probably all recognise or have been that boy/ girl at the back of the class who doesn’t quite fit in. 

This is a moving and powerful play told from a child’s perspective which highlights the power of friendship and kindness in a world that doesn’t always make sense.

The play opens with a striking dance sequence depicting a class of nine-year-olds who are approaching double figures. There is an empty chair at the back of the class.

First, we hear Alexa’s story. Played energetically by Sasha Desouza-Willock with the earnest enthusiasm of a nine-year-old, she talks about being different because her dad has died. When a new boy Ahmet played beautifully by Farshid Rokey comes to occupy the seat at the back of the class Alexa is the first to try to make friends with him.

She encourages her friends, the rest of the A team to find out more about Ahmet and make him feel welcome. Josie is played with strong energy by Petra Joan-Athene, who also plays a journalist.

Gordon Miller plays the American dare devil with gusto and Michael, a typical teacher’s pet, is played effectively by Abdul-Malek Janneh who also plays the taxi driver.

When class teacher Mrs Khan strongly played by Priya Davdra, who also plays Alexa’s mother, encourages Ahmet to tell the class his story, the A team are even more determined to help him. He is a refugee from Syria who has had to leave his family behind to seek safety in England. Later we hear that his sister and cat died in the attempt to escape.

Only Brendan the bully, played powerfully by Joe McNamara fails to be moved by Ahmet’s story and makes his life worse, calling him a filthy refugee and disrupting their football game.

When the A team hear that the borders are soon closing and no more refugees will be allowed through, they know they must devise a plan to get Ahmet reunited with his mother and father, which involves writing to the queen and even embarking on a daring visit to Buckingham palace. Megan Grech plays the firm but compassionate head teacher and Adam Seridji plays Mr Hart. Ryan Rajan Mal plays the off-stage swing.

Clarissa, a 9-year-old obsessed with ballet, is played by Zoe Zak who also plays several other strong roles including Mrs Grimsby and Mr Irons an older and rather unpleasant teacher who also picks on Ahmet.

Directed by Monique Touko and adapted by Nick Ahad this powerful stage production from The Children's Theatre Partnership and the Rose Theatre, Kingston upon Thames is based on the award winning novel by Onjali Q. Rauf.

The strong message in this touching play, aimed at children from the age of seven, is to be the best they can and to realise the power of kindness.

This beautiful and heart warming show runs to Saturday 23rd March.

Jane Lush


The boy will be sitting at the back of the class at Wolverhampton Grand, 16-20 April and Coventry Belgrade 14-18 May 

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