Ofsted Report for The End of History
Information about this Inspection
- The End of History uses a history GCSE class as metaphor for 20th-century international relations
- This involves a lot of singing about the League of Nations
- As the analogy is stretched out over a two-hour show (including through the exam-paper program), it seemed appropriate to extend it to include this review, presented as an Oftsed Report
Summary of Key Findings
- Due to an entirely inconsequential plot, audiences endure an endless summary of international relations through song and Fosse-inspired routines (that bear uncomfortably resemblance to our inspector on her fifth sherry when someone inadvisably puts ‘Razzle-Dazzle’ on). The idea is to align the teenage students’ personalities with countries geo-political approaches, a nifty little device for showing childish personality politics, but a completely pointless one when there is no overlap between the two characterizations.
- Singing through the syllabus aside, the events that befall our plucky teenagers tick every ‘issue’. Revenge porn! Drugs! Trashing the house at a party by very carefully throwing some paper cups and unopened bags of crisps! Special mention to the poor girl who passes out in the playground clutching her tiny bottle of vodka. Though her friends fail to wake her, she appears in the next scene, unharmed, and the event IS NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN. It’s The Room meets Grange Hill.
Effectiveness of Leadership and Management
- We are deeply concerned that Iain Hollingshead (book & lyrics) is a real-life history teacher, as all evidence points to him never having met a teenager in his life. With such authentically adolescent dialogue as “Geography is bare jokes” featuring heavily in the show, it is suggested that Hollingshead refer to more primary sources. In return, we will agree to never again mention the rap battle at the end of Act One.
- This also follows for the lazy stereotypes that flood this musical. Box-cutter wielding delinquent Gary is a cookie-cutter hoodie straight out a private-school imagination. His redemption comes from his having a breakdown and going to therapy. That Gary, who is apparently poor and, it is heavily implied, lives in a home plagued by domestic violence, manages such a turnaround over one short summer is nothing short of an NHS waiting-list miracle.
Personal development, behavior and welfare
- There is a bright-eyed desperation to the cast, who sing as if their lives depend on it (maybe they do; next performance, blink twice for help). This mainly means it is very loud – not necessarily good, but very, very loud.
The school has the following strengths:
- Timothy Muller has written couple of good tunes. They would be massively improved by being instrumentals.
Category 4: The End of History is not fit for purpose.
The End of History is at the Tristan Bates Theatre until December 2nd. For more details, click here.