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Richmond Shakespeare Society puts on Educating Rita
The borough’s longest standing theatre company will stage Willy Russell’s much loved modern classic Educating Rita this month.
The Richmond Shakespeare Society will perform the play with only two actors.
The play centres on Rita, a forthright and frustrated hairdresser hungry to know everything, and Frank, the disillusioned Open University tutor assigned, at first reluctantly, to teach her.
Director Chris Hurles says: “The characters are brilliantly observed and ring so true. “I think people are also drawn to Rita, her desire to educate and better herself and the subsequent journey she experiences.”
With Frank’s guidance, Rita learns to differentiate between Yeats the poet and Yates the wine lodge, while Frank, thanks to her fresh and intuitive outlook, starts to question whether fulfilment need come solely from the whisky bottles secreted around his bookshelves.
Director Hurles says: “Obviously the play centres on Rita, but it’s also about the changing relationship between her and the tutor Frank.
“I think he becomes somewhat infatuated with Rita, partly because she’s so unlike his regular students.
“However, Rita sees Frank as a father figure. At the end, she’s developed and grown and is able to stand on her own.
“Frank doesn’t progress as far. He starts off as an unhappy drunk, and ends as a slightly more contented one. Rita doesn’t change Frank as much as he changes her.”
Educating Rita has proved a huge hit with audiences, both on stage and thanks to the 1983 film version starring Julie Walters and Michael Caine.
Educating Rita; Mary Wallace Theatre, The Embankment, Twickenham; September 21 to 28; 7.45pm, 4pm on Sunday 22, matinee at 3pm on Saturday 28; £10 to £12; 020 8744 0547 or visit richmondshakespeare.org.uk.
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