THE first thing to say about Altrincham Garrick’s next production is don’t be fooled by its title, which conjurs up an image of old fashioned children’s radio programmes.

A spiteful schoolgirl does he best to wreck the lives and livelihoods of two model schoolteachers in The Children’s Hour after she’s punished for telling a lie.

Mary Tilford, the child in question, spreads a rumour Martha Dobie, who runs the private girl school with her best friend Karen Wright, is jealous of Karen’s relationship with one Dr Joe Cardin, another character in the play.

The untruth eventually leads to the dedicated duo being faced with empty classrooms, with parents duped into believing the relationship between the two schoolteachers is a lesbian one.

I saw this play at the Royal Exchange and it is compelling viewing and the fact that it was premiered in 1934 means the subject matter is handled in a subtle and sensitive manner.

Or to put it another way, there’s nothing to offend here and you’ll find yourself willing Martha and Karen to come through this crisis.

* Altrincham Garrick presents The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman from February 25 to March 2 at 7.30pm. Tickets are available from 0161 928 1677 and Altrincham Tourist Information Centre, Stamford Road, Altrincham. A two ticket for the price of one policy operates on Monday night and further information is available from