There could hardly be a more apt audience, a more relevant venue for Educating Rita than the Nottingham New Theatre. Willy Russell’s delightful script takes on new life in this student led, student performed play about student life, directed by Chelsea Jayne Wright and produced by Emily Heaton.
Books overflowing out of shelves, the sturdy desk, antique chairs; Chelsea Jayne Wright’s set has recreated your professor’s office. Greying hair, unkempt beard, and mumbling as he depletes his secret whiskey hoard, Nick Barker recreates a student’s worst nightmare: Frank, the alcoholic tutor. Cue Rita (Ginny Lee), crashing through Frank’s door and upturning his life. Frank and Rita belligerently explore knowledge and why we seek it.
A script set entirely in one room, with a cast of two presents a challenge for the most seasoned actor. Nick Barker and Ginny Lee carry the momentum of the play through their uproarious and spirited dialogue. The performance is slow to start, but blooms into an interchange that is both charming and deviant. Chelsea’s direction does this script justice, balancing the light- hearted overtones against the weighty questions this play explores. Ginny and Nick deliver the three components essential in a production of Educating Rita: genuine chemistry, a successful Liverpool accent and a decent beard. If you yearn to see a scouse Rita done properly, see this production. Ginny and Nick’s performance was met with a warm and sincere round of applause – the mark of a successful show.
This production is not a tear- jerker, it’s not a thriller, and it’s not start-to-finish belly laughs. It’s not even disturbing. This production is not going have your heart racing or reaching for the tissues, and it will still be worth every penny. It can be enjoyed much like a Haagen Daz pralines and cream; slowly, luxuriously, savouring every last minute. This is an all- round pleasure, and an unrepeatable production.
Don’t see : to be stunned out of your senses.
Do see: if you’re in the mood to be mildly tickled, while having both your head and your heart warmed.
This production empowers you to say, simply, I like it.
Educating Rita runs at the Nottingham New Theatre until Saturday 27th April. For ticket information go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/449774145111233/?fref=ts