ACT Reviews 2022-2023 Season

EDUCATING RITA by Willy Russell Director Rachel Perrin Knutsford Little Theatre Willy Russell’s much-loved play opens the season for Knutsford Little Theatre. The audience was presented with a box set, with a door up stage right and window up stage left: Set dressings of hung pictures, bookcases, books: the furniture consisting of chairs, a filing cabinet and desk. This is the world of the old soak of an “Eng Lit” tutor Frank. It was maybe just a little too tidy as it didn’t reflect the heavy drinking and boredom of life of its inhabitant. Costumes have to make such a strong statement and complement the character. Rita’s wardrobe captured the essence of the character. However maybe some hair changes would have added to Rita’s metamorphic transition. Frank looked every inch the corduroyed tutor. I think he needed to be a little more unkempt looking to fit into the lifestyle he has slipped into. Then we could see the change in Frank as Rita changes; his outlook which gives him a new found purpose. Rita is the Scouse hairdresser determined to better herself through enrolling as an Open University student. Cheryl Chamberlain filled the stage as Rita from the comic first explosive entrance to the ‘hair cut, Sir?’ finale. Paul Baston as Frank captured his alcoholic self-pity. The actors built a chemistry that had sharp edges and a gentle charm. The dynamics between them worked well as Rita got educated and Frank got drunk. The comedy began to shine through as the characters begin to peel away their own separate lives. Frank giving up on his ambitions to be a poet, and Rita not wanting to become a stereotypical housewife. Together they inspired each other. Frank’s contempt for academic snobbery, and Rita challenging his prejudices, brought out a burst of affection. Cheryl and Paul gave Rita and Frank a truth that lifted the words giving depth to their characters relationships. This came apparent when Rita