Willy Russell’s heart-warming comedy Shirley Valentine, the tale of the Liverpool housewife who heads for Greece in search of adventure, premiered in 1986 and took the world by storm. Celebrating its 30th Anniversary last year, the first major revival of this national treasure is touring the UK and lands at Norwich Theatre Royal from Tuesday 5th September to Saturday 9th September.
It stars much loved West End leading lady Jodie Prenger as Shirley, the gutsy middle-aged woman whose kids have left home and as she makes chips and egg for her husband while talking to the wall, she asks herself where her life has disappeared to? Out of the blue, her best friend offers her a trip to Greece for two weeks and she secretly packs her bags to head for the sun where she starts to see the world and herself very differently.
With a career spanning over four decades, Willy Russell is undeniably one of the most successful playwrights of his generation. His plays, including Educating Rita, Blood Brothers, Our Day Out and Shirley Valentine, have been performed across the globe, winning countless awards and continuing to be in constant production. Shirley Valentine was also adapted into an Oscar-nominated film starring Pauline Collins and Tom Conti.
Of the revival, Willy Russell said:
“Since those early days Shirley has had an incredibly rich and varied life, appearing in many tongues across the globe in countless productions and being performed by many great actresses. The one thing Shirley Valentine has not done of late is extensively tour the UK.”
Jodie Prenger first came to public notice when she won the role of Nancy in the West End production of Oliver! through the BBC television series I’d Do Anything. Most recently she toured the UK in the classic musical Tell Me On A Sunday. She also played the title role in the national tour of the musical Calamity Jane and has starred in One Man, Two Guvnors both in the West End and on tour and as Lady of the Lake in Spamalot. Jodie is also a regular presenter on BBC Radio 2.
Glen Walford, who directed the original production, is also directing this major revival and it is produced by Adam Spiegel Productions, He has produced, Motown, The Last Tango, The Producers, Dance ‘Til Dawn, Midnight Tango, Love Me Tender, The Mousetrap on Tour.
Judy Foster, of Norwich Theatre Royal, said:
“There is a little bit of Shirley Valentine in all of us. Combining such a well-loved story by a wonderful writer like Willy Russell with a fantastic actress like Jodie Prenger is guaranteed to produce a fun evening with some real laugh-out-loud moments.”
Shirley Valentine comes to Norwich Theatre Royal from Tuesday 5th September to Saturday 9th September. For more information, visit: www.theatreroyal.co.uk