'D’Arcehole' - comedy review Reading Fringe Festival

I didn’t want to be late for a comedy gig because you know there is a chance the comedian will notice and say something but my hopes of sneaking in quietly and sitting at the back were rumbled by Jo D’arcy the formidable comic slash teacher. I’d heard peals and squeals* of laughter before going in and it seemed D’arcy had taken names (if not a register) of the audience.

Using slides and her years of authority D’arcy attempted to teach us what many have tried and failed to learn including real life examples from student exams and her experiences of being a secondary school teacher in Stoke-on-Trent.

I laughed many times and I didn’t cry but often I wanted to do both when faced with D'arcy's experiences of an education system politically eroded over decades, the explosive components compressed in teenagers moulded by broken education factories. Individuals and institutions who devalue teachers and who fail to address pockets of poverty where there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do except to have children.

What else did I learn? More than the acronyms of A FOREST, WALT and WILF. D’arcy is a super comic, very physical and energetic with a simultaneously alluring yet alarming nipple squeeze* interacting frequently and fast with her class. Her use of humour to highlight corruption reminds me of Bill Hicks ‘go back to bed America’. We need more comics like D’arcy to keep it real.

I recommend D’arcehole, take notes (there will be a test) and muse on how to mend broken Britain.

(c) Wendy Thomson 2017

D'arcehole at the Rising Sun Arts Centre
Reading Fringe Festival
Saturday 22nd July 2017 8.30pm

*squeals and squeezes may correlate.

Author's review: