How to wear denim this summer
DIRECTOR: Steven Stead
CAST: Lisa Bobbert
UNTIL: 22 September
SOMETIMES life can suck the life out of you.
And that’s where Shirley Valentine finds herself in Willy Russell’s play of the same name which is brought back to stage by Kickstart Productions.
The 40-plus mother and wife is at a point where she’s basically living on auto-mode. The kids are all grown up and have left home and now her life revolves around work and her husband’s timetable.
But an offer to take a small girlfriends’ getaway to Greece disrupts the dull norm that is now her life and spirals her into a journey of self-discovery.
As she contemplates leaving her husband and going on the trip, Shirley is confronted by memories of her youthful and zest-filled past – first as a young woman and then as half of a once happily married couple. She also has to deal with overcoming low self-esteem – imposed on her over the years by herself, her husband and her children.
But will she be brave enough to take the plunge into the unknown?
A delightful case of art imitating life, Shirley Valentine also presents an opportunity for the audience to journey with the character on this path of rediscovery, and in so doing contemplate these kinds of issues in reality.
That said, the play is far from a serious look at life, but rather a comfortably provocative offering on issues that are universal, irrespective of one’s background – all of which are explored through a laugh-a-minute script, thus keeping these issues light but still poignant.
It’s easy to identify with the character’s fears, insecurity, doubts and desire for change.
Durban actress Lisa Bobbert (pictured) does an excellent job of giving Shirley life on stage. It’s no wonder she’s won multiple awards for this role.
Bobbert really gets into the skin of the character and it’s her portrayal of Shirley that really draws the audience in.
She also portrays an array of other characters, from Shirley’s husband to her children to her neighbour, her best friend, Greek waitrons and more. Throughout the two acts of the play she never flinches, changing characters at the drop of a hat, with aplomb.
Greg King’s set design adds to the intimate experience of chatting with Shirley, particularly the kitchen in her North England home, which is functional.
So, for example, as Shirley goes about preparing her husband’s eggs and chips and you hear and smell the food cooking, it’s as if you’re sitting in her kitchen having a chat with her.
With the play only staging until September 22 and playing to packed houses so far, best you get a ticket – fast!