Review: Educating Rita, Theatre Royal Norwich
This Willy Russell comedy really stands the test of time - despite being 30 years old.
We meet feisty Rita, a working class hairdresser from Liverpool who wants to educate herself out of her circumstances.
Like Russell, she has left school with no qualifications and feels trapped in her lifestyle. She enrols on an Open University course, and is given Frank as her boozy, disillusioned English tutor. Played by Jessica Johnson, Rita is very likeable and we enjoy her so-called journey to Enlightenment, learning how to dissect a Blake poem but, more importantly, learning how to value herself.
She has some great one-liners and many women will relate to her struggle for self worth.
Frank is played by TV favourite Stephen Tompkinson who slips into the role of a jaundiced university tutor very easily.
His cosy academic world is shaken by Rita’s arrival and he, of course, comes to depend on her far more than she does on him.
They both learn from each other, along with the audience, about second chances, and having the ability to make your own choices in life.
As Russell is a master at using humour to educate his audience, it is all done with a very light touch and is both entertaining and informative. Highly recommended! The show runs until Saturday.