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Review: Mogadishu

Lyric Hammersmith, London W6

    Teacher Vivienne Franzmann's remarkable debut drama is set in an inner-city comprehensive where if children thrive it is often despite their school, not because of it.

    Franzmann reflects the world of unruly state schools within a gripping thriller forged in racial politics. Angry black pupil Jason (a coiled Malachi Kirby) assaults white teacher Amanda (Julia Ford) after she gets in the way of his bullying. But Jason claims Amanda attacked him, and called him a black bastard. The nightmare that unfolds sees Amanda investigated as a potential child abuser. Her faith in her colleagues and her pupils - who are peer-pressured by Jason into lying on his behalf - erodes to cynicism.

    Matthew Dunster's urgent, Manchester Royal Exchange production is saturated with terrific, young acting talent and, best of all, Franzmann gets exactly right the raw street speak of the playground.

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