AS the parent of a Year 6 child who is currently in the midst of the circus that is choosing a secondary school, Future Conditional is very timely.
The play, on at the Old Vic, is the first under the new regime of artistic director Matthew Warchus, and it’s a cracker. Written by Tamsin Oglesby it features four separate stories which interweave with each other.
The first is that of Alia who comes to the UK from Pakistan. She has lost her father, her mother is blind and yet despite her hardship, she is a bright child with a positive outlook and a love of school and the English language in particular. We first see her at an interview at Oxford University completely and joyfully wrong-footing the male tutor.
Then we meet the mandarins at the ministry who are trying to shape government policy on education. Three of the six have public school and Oxbridge education, the other three have come the comprehensive route resulting in plenty of heated discussions.
Then there are the group of mums with Year 6 children trying to navigate their way through an increasingly complex and fraught situation which gives them no choice about which schools their darlings end up in.
Should they try and cheat the system, lie about where they live or tutor their charges to get them into the "best" or "right" school?
And finally we meet Mr Crane, the inspiring teacher every child should have and his mission to educate, stimulate and inspire his charges, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.
It is the most amazing piece of writing, intelligent, riotously funny, poignant and full of emotion. And it will strike a chord with anyone who is wading through the treacle of secondary school admissions processes.
Fraught with anxiety it pushes everyone involved and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who wiped away a few tears at the end.
Set in the round, it was stunningly staged with a stellar cast led by Rob Brydon as Mr Crane and Nikki Patel, who makes her professional stage debut as Alia.
Future Conditional is on at the Old Vic. Visit www.oldvictheatre.com or call the box office on 0844 871 7628.