Willy Russell’s celebrated tour of one woman show Shirley Valentine, makes a stop in Coventry to bring smiles to faces and turn thoughts to idyllic holidays.
Shirley is a 42 year old married mother of 2, her life consists of work and providing her husband with his dinner at the approved time. When her friend hands her a ticket for a fortnights holiday in Greece she realises that, somewhere along the way, she lost herself. We follow her as she decides whether to take the trip to fulfil a dream and find her old self, Shirley Valentine again.
Jodie Prenger, probably best known for musical theatre, takes the role of Shirley Valentine. Her personality and confidence shine throughout the performance. As the only person on stage for the entire show it is solely down to her to keep you engaged as she tells her story. She manages this with ease as she effortlessly drops into different accents while she mimics the people in Shirley’s tale. The imitation of speech and accent is accompanied by mannerisms and wonderful facial expressions that bring the varying characters to life. It is when Shirley is herself that you see the depth of character and the inner struggle that rages within, from pride over well cooked chips to annoyance at being taken for granted.
The delivery of this funny and well observed script is perfect, you are with Shirley every step of the way. It feels like an evening catching up with a friend, no topic is off limits and anything goes. It is both funny and heart wrenching at the same time.
Although the audience was predominately ladies of a certain age, who appeared to strongly identify with Shirley and her observations, I feel younger ladies would also enjoy the show and could benefit from the message.
This was a captivating performance sure to inspire you to find yourself and chase your dreams.
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