Kevin Precious: The Reluctant Teacher | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Kevin Precious: The Reluctant Teacher

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Determining at the outset that maybe a fifth of his audience are in the teaching profession, like he was, Kevin Precious nevertheless pitches his hour as if he’s doing the entertainment slot at an NUT corporate. It’s an approach that pays out, surprisingly.

At times, his set delivers the very particular pleasure of taking a peek inside a niche meme community – the ins and outs of a very specific topic, as expressed through familiar joke formats. You get the hit even though the concepts of key stages and Ofsted may not mean as much to you as they once did. We haven’t all been teachers but we’ve all come into contact with them, and Precious’s show offers a glimpse behind the curtain.

Precious got into teaching reluctantly, as he puts it, because his primary career choice of itinerant musician and bohemian bon vivant left him in danger of falling through society’s cracks. Now out of the profession, he’s retired his professional Hugh Grant haircut and returned to long grey hair, black shirt and red tie, the ageing rockstar manifest.

He might have been a grudging teacher but something tells you he would have been a good one. He holds the class with the assured humility of someone who spends all day every day speaking in public, driving home his points about fronted adverbials and the state of the education system where necessary, but picking the right moments to pull back and let his audience make connections for themselves.

Despite his knowledge and forthright opinions, you never feel like you’re being lectured to, and the hour flies by.

His stories of life behind the staff room door and the affectionate generalisations that he paints of his former students are rarely cause for outright hilarity, but there’s joy to be found in his company and under his care.

And if you’ve ever worked as a teacher, it feels like a show that would be satisfying in the extreme.

Review date: 11 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Tim Harding
Reviewed at: Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

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