Photo courtesy of Joseph Slawinski

With charismatic comic timing, droll impersonation skills, and a boisterous stage persona that occasionally brings to mind the outlandishness of Robin Williams, writer-performer Jack Freiberger, in his solo show, glibly traipses through the tale of his first year as a fifth grade teacher in a dangerous and crime-riddled "No Child Left Behind" elementary school somewhere in South Los Angeles. Fry is the perfect teacher we all wish we'd had when we were young: avuncular, personable and just a little bit dorky, with an educational philosophy that's motivated by a useful mix of idealism and pragmatism. Fry's tale, admittedly, hews to traditional and somewhat predictable series of "public school" tale tropes -- he is offered a job at the South Central school, where he at first feels completely lost in the world of violent teens in a dead-end school. Yet, he gradually finds his way, even with his most troubled students. Throughout the tale, Freiberger plays himself, but he also assays all the other characters: his students, a burly, take-no-prisoners principal, and the prune-faced state educational commissioner who takes umbrage over Fry's use of a balloon sword in class. Freiberger himself is consistently charming, holding our attention through anecdotes both touching and funny. Even when some of the piece's scenes seep into melodrama, he holds our attention effortlessly, proof that being a good teacher and being a good actor are by no means mutually exclusive. Asylum Theater, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd, Hlywd.; Sat., Aug. 7, 3 p.m. (800) 838-3006. (Paul Birchall)