Monday, 22 May 2017

“Shirley Valentine” by Willy Russell
Nottingham Theatre Royal.
Shirley is a Liverpool housewife. Her kids have left home and she makes chips and egg for her husband while talking to the wall. Where has her life disappeared to? Out of the blue, her best friend offers her a trip to Greece for 2 weeks and she secretly packs her bags. She heads for the sun and starts to see the world and herself very differently.
Starring Jodie Prenger in this first major revival of the play which premiered in 1986 and was massive hit which was later adapted into a film. Jodie has come a long way since landing the role of Nancy in the revival of “Oliver” after winning the part on BBC1’s “I’d Do Anything” where the search was on for a new actress to play the part of Nancy.
We all love listening to stories and Jodie is a marvellous lyrical painter of pictures. What she also brings to this role is her ear for accents, and I love a good accent.
Jodie is exciting to watch and I will admit that seeing her in musicals in the past, she didn't stand out that much, but I can't say that in this one woman show. Jodie has to stand out and she does. She lights up the stage without even trying and you wanted to be near her to soak in all of her wonderful stories; well the stories written by Willy Russell for Shirley Valentine.
Directed by Glen Walford, she made this look so casual and laid back, just as if you were the only one listening. Produced by Adam Spiegel
Set and Costume design by Amy Yardley. The first act was a working kitchen where Shirley actually made chips and egg on the cooker. We all got hunger pangs smelling that food in the theatre. It also highlighted Jodie's timing to be spot on.
The second act was the beach at Greece. With the sounds of the beach and the shore rolling up to the beach side taverna, you could picture the Grecian nightlife. The minimalist set of some rockery was all you needed.
Lighting Design by James Whiteside made you almost feel the warmth of the sun on that beach. A subtle soundscape by Ed Clarke meandered it's way in and out of your head.
For some strange reason we were told before we went in to the auditorium that this was just a one
woman show. that must have been for anyone unfamiliar with the play or film.
With such a pictoral and lyrical script, all you need is one good actor when you have a writer like Willy Russell. All we needed was Jodie Prenger.
A wonderful show, a hypnotic actor in Jodie and a standing ovation for affirmation.
“Shirley Valentine” is at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 27 May 2017

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