THEATRE: Educating Rita

It might only have been two years since Educating Rita proved its worth at the Menier Chocolate Factory and on London’s West End, but it’s already lined up to engage audiences again as it returns for an eagerly anticipated three-week run.

The play tells the story of a young, brash and wonderfully likeable Liverpudlian hairdresser, hungry to find enrichment on an English Literature Open University course. Her fresh, unschooled reaction to the classics challenges both the attitudes of the University and her alcoholic lecturer, Frank, who starts to question his own wisdom. It’s an unlikely friendship that forces the best out of two unsatisfied lives.

One of Russell’s best-loved plays – who can forget Blood Brothers? – it was made into a hugely successful film in 1983, starring Julie Walters and Michael Caine. The task of capturing the wit, intelligence and exasperation of the play’s two leading characters has now been taken into the safe hands of Claire Sweeney and Matthew Kelly.

If you’re looking for fantastic acting, laughter and a little bit of nostalgia, Tamara Harvey’s production will hit the spot.

Runs 25 April to 12 May, Menier Chocolate Factory, London;