Theatre Review: Educating Rita, Lyric Theatre
February 10, 2017 Chris Caldwell 0 Comments
Michael James Ford and Kerri Quinn return to the Lyric Theatre with Willy Russell’s award winning Educating Rita, and with that kind of pedigree what could go wrong? Very little is the answer, well very little that isn’t supposed to go wrong if you get my meaning!
A wise-cracking, no-nonsense hairdresser from the working-class streets of Belfast, Rita is tired of her job, her prospects, her husband, her life. She wants to be the sort of woman who knows the difference between Shaw’s Bridge and George Bernard Shaw, and so enrolls in an Open University course in English Literature where she meets her tutor Frank – a lecturer from North Down who teaches at Queen’s – and begins her journey of self-discovery.
The first thing you notice is the set – lots of wooden furniture and a mass of books, from floor to ceiling. It’s a mass of knowledge but stored in a clumsy unorganised way – it sums up our 2 characters nicely and makes for an interesting surround with which to set the duration of the play.
Michael And Kerri own their parts, they have become their characters for the running time and the chemistry makes, what can at times be a very funny script, remarkably believable. We know these characters, that we’ve only just met, or at least we know people who are like bits of them. The sum total of these finely tuned performances and blistering script dunk us deep into the action from the word go – we’re laughing at Rita’s constant barbs one minute and then we’re sympathising at Franks lost opportunities and lamenting thereof the next. And herein lies the success of the play, it weaves the laughs, the cleverness, the sorrow and everything else into one big blanket of humanity and lays it all out there for you to pick apart or enjoy for what it is. A thoroughly enjoyable night at the theatre and a welcome return for such a great cast and play.
Educating Rita is on at the Lyric Theatre until 25th Feb. Info and tickets can be found here.