Tag Archives: Willy Russell

WILLY RUSSELL’S CLASSIC ‘EDUCATING RITA’ SPARKLES @ THE DEPOT

 

Frank Bryant (David Jeffrey) has become a tutor, for an Open University English Literature course, entirely just for the money. He is an older middle-class professor, a career academic, and a high-functioning alcoholic, who had ambitions to be a great poet and is bored with his University job of teaching undergraduate English Literature. His first student Rita White (Emily McGowan) struts into his book-filled office.

Rita is an unhappy married hairdresser, down-to-earth and excessively talkative but often rambling, and now aged 26 years, she needs freedom and is driven to dedicate herself to receiving all of the education, that she failed to receive in school.

Rita brings all of her under-educated blunt honesty, to loudly challenge Frank’s deep intellect and limitless knowledge of literature. Each inspires the other to become more alive, and better live their lives. Socially inept Rita believes that she is trapped by her working class life and her husband, and the theme of identity emerges, because she changed her birth name from Susan to Rita. Rita believes that studying literature for twelve months, will give her the worldly knowledge that she needs to grow as a person.

Playwright Willy Russell has sleekly styled EDUCATING RITA with realistic character-driven dialogue, providing the perfect balance of humour and poignancy. The play is fast paced, dialogue intensive 120 minutes of theatre entertainment, full of purpose, comedy and pathos, as these two people, learn more about each other, the class system, and the many shortcomings of institutionalised education systems.                 Continue reading WILLY RUSSELL’S CLASSIC ‘EDUCATING RITA’ SPARKLES @ THE DEPOT

Educating Rita @ The Ensemble Theatre

Professor Frank (Mark Kilmurry) isn't used to reading essays quite like the ones that Rita (Catherine McGraffin) writes
Professor Frank (Mark Kilmurry) isn’t used to reading essays quite like the ones that Rita (Catherine McGraffin) writes

Mark Kilmurrry’s production takes us deeply into this Willy Russell world and its two loveable, vulnerable, very recognisable characters who stay in our hearts long after the house lights have come back up.

We walk into the theatre to be greeted with music from the nineteen eighties, the period in which the play is set, and Anna Gardiner’s finely detailed set of an academic’s chamber.

We first meet literature tutor Frank who is on the phone to his partner to tell  her he will be home. He has to first see a student who is enrolling in the Open University program. Continue reading Educating Rita @ The Ensemble Theatre

Blood Brothers @ The Hayes

Helen Dallimore as Mrs Johnstone
Helen Dallimore as Mrs Johnstone in the current revival of BLOOD BROTHERS

It’s doubtful that you will be able to score a ticket to BLOOD BROTHERS playing at the Hayes Theatre at the moment. Why? Because Sydney theatregoers recognize a good thing when they see it … and see it … and see it. I’ve gone twice and so have my friends. Some have managed to scrounge a third ticket from somewhere. What’s so good about this production? Nothing in particular. Just … the cast, the music, the band, the lighting, the audio mixing, the set, the costumes and the rousing applause of a thoroughly satisfied audience.

Mrs Johnstone (to be) is taken dancing by a fancy man whose chat line includes how much she looks like Marilyn Monroe. Marriage and children ensue and the dancing dwindles until Mr Johnstone scarpers with another Marilyn lookalike while his missus is up the duff with twins. Manipulated by the childless Mrs Lyons into handing over one of the twins and swearing on a bible to keep the bargain, Mrs Johnstone’s supposed to see the child every day as she chars for the Lyons. Until she gets the unceremonious boot and a few grotty Pound notes! Continue reading Blood Brothers @ The Hayes