'Helpful advice to foreigners visiting Britain: 'When first entering a tube train, be sure to shake hands with every passenger. And do not fail to test the famous echo in the Reading Room of the British Museum.' Emma is a dedicated ESOL teacher (English for Speakers of Other Languages) whose class includes people from Somalia, Serbia, The Congo, India and Egypt. She also has to coach them to pass the new Test of UK Citizenship. As the Foreign Office worries away at whether the questions in the Test are the right ones, and Emma's friends and pupils challenge its underlying attitudes, Emma finds her commitment drowning in the conflicting currents of ethnicity, religion and political correctness. "Testing the Echo" is a provocative and often satirical look at the overwhelming difficulty of defining what it is to be British.
DAVID EDGAR is best known for his adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby for the RSC (revived in West End, Xmas 2007, following UK tour), for whom he also wrote Destiny, Maydays, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Pentecost and The Prisoner's Dilemma. His plays at the National include The Shape of the Table, Entertaining Strangers with Judi Dench, Albert Speer and Playing with Fire.