9 July 2012 WOS Rating: The Menier Chocolate Factory can certainly do Willy Russell – they had an excellent season of Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine a couple of years back which transferred to Trafalgar Studios so I had inevitably high hopes in advance of seeing the former at the Oxford Playhouse this week.
The set is a trusty study, books and booze adorning the walls as one would expect in this production. The lighting feels like it was whipped up in no time at all with very little subtleness or tone used –a dreadful projection of a tree outside the window, half the time whitewashed by other lamps, gives the only variation detectable in tone until the final couple of scenes.
Educating Rita itself is superb; sadly this production does not live up to it. Direction throughout is passable at best, allowing Matthew Kelly to sway from melodrama to pantomime and back again with little in the way of nuanced thought while Claire Sweeney seems to feel that sounding vaguely Liverpudlian was all it needed to emit Rita’s drive to learn.
Russell needs subtly, less is more. Light laughs a plenty here, however if you’re on the lookout for a clever, thoughtful production, save the pennies.
- Daniel Whitley
Subscribe to our free newsletter
Featured Editor's Picks
Donmar stages Nick Payne premiere, Wesker's Roots & Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus The Donmar Warehouse has announced its new season, which features the premiere of Nick Payne's new p... ATG acquires Broadway's largest theatre The Foxwoods, home of Spider-Man In another significant step for transatlantic theatre relations, the UK’s biggest theatre owner ... 1st Night Photos: Strictly stars party at Relatively Speaking first night Strictly stars Kimberley Walsh, Denise Van Outen and Artem Chigvintsev were among those celebrating ... Matilda on Broadway wins five Drama Desk Awards The Broadway transfer of Matilda The Musical has won five gongs at the 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards... Pulitzer winner : Islam is 'ripe territory' for drama Ayad Akhtar Ayad Akhtar's play Disgraced, which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, receives its UK premiere ... Michael Coveney: New York honours Matilda with five big awards First blood in the New York awards contest went to Matilda last night, as the show walked off with... Opening: Relatively Speaking, Southwark Playhouse's Tanzi Libre & NT Shed's Bullet Catch Among this week's major London theatre openings, in the West End and further afield, are Relatively ... Young Vic's award-winning Doll's House transfers to West End Carrie Cracknell's critically acclaimed Young Vic production of A Doll's House, using an adaptatio... Let It Be extends booking at Savoy until Jan 2014 Let It Be, the concert show based on the music of The Beatles, has extended its run at the Savoy... : Theatre 'flops' ripe for reinvention Ten of the Best Defining a theatre 'flop' is no straightforward task. A general rule of thumb could be that it mak...