Posts Tagged ‘Willy Russell’

Review – Educating Rita, Menier Chocolate Factory

Monday 30 April 2012

Saturday evening.

Philly-no-mates had nothing booked in the diary. What to do? Take up an impromptu offer (presumably no one else being available) to revisit the Menier Chocolate Factory‘s Educating Rita now starring Claire Sweeney as the titular heroine or stay in on his tod and flick restlessly between TV ‘talent’ shows.

Sweeney or tod?

Phil dithered. He doesn’t normally like visiting the theatre on a Saturday evening* and whilst the decision was not exactly on a par with Sophie’s Choice he weighed up the options fastidiously. The Whingers had enjoyed it enormously two years ago; surely only disappointment would ensue. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Educating Rita, Menier Chocolate Factory

Monday 29 March 2010

Who is she? Who is she? This whispered question echoed around the auditorium as the audience filed out of the Sunday matinee preview of Educating Rita, part of the Willy Russell season at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

“She” is Laura Dos Santos. Previous theatre credits include: We Will Be Gone (Camden People’s Theatre), Look Back In Anger (Jermyn Street), Stags And Hens (Royal Court Liverpool), On The Middle Day (Old Vic), In Your Hands (New End Theatre) and The Morris (Liverpool Everyman)*.

No, we were none the wiser either but it’s extremely unlikely anyone will be asking “Who is she?” for long. For Miss Dos Santos has seized the part of Rita from our memory of Julie Walters’ grasp and inhabited it so completely and confidently and with such comic and dramatic aplomb that no-one in the auditorium could do much more than ask to each other blankly “Who is she?” in disbelief that she isn’t already a household name. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Shirley Valentine, Menier Chocolate Factory

Monday 29 March 2010

Anyone who – like Phil – is easily distracted from their Saturday morning chores by Saturday Kitchen will know the terms “food heaven” and “food hell” and it is thrilling to be able to report that the Whingers experienced the former at Saturday afternoon’s preview performance of Shirley Valentine, part of the Menier Chocolate Factory‘s Willy Russell season.

There was a fully working deep fat fryer! Andrew couldn’t believe his eyes. Was Meera Syal really frying chips live on stage? Well, yes, she was. The smell was permeating the auditorium. In fact the whole of the first scene sees Syal’s titular Shirley peel potatoes, chip them, dry them and pop them in the fryer. And then she fries two eggs in a frying pan! Live! On stage! No trickery, no mirrors, no projections, no miming. Phil could see an entire new chapter emerging for his food-on-stage thesis.

It was of course incredibly distracting – don’t ask us what else happened in Act 1 as we couldn’t tell you – but not quite as distracting as Phil’s personal “food hell” as he became gradually fixated by the kitchen set’s pedal bin. Read the rest of this entry »