As previously rumoured (See The Goss, 2 Feb 2010), the Menier Chocolate Factory will revive Willy Russell's hit 80s comedies Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine in rep next month (26 March 2010 to 8 May), starring Meera Syal, Larry Lamb and Laura Dos Santos.

Syal will star in the monologue Shirley Valentine, which is directed by Glen Walford, who commissioned and directed the original 1986 Liverpool Everyman production.

Lamb and Dos Santos will play Frank and Rita in Educating Rita, which will be directed by Jeremy Sams (The Sound of Music), marking his Chocolate Factory debut.

The revivals coincide with the 30th anniversary of Educating Rita, the two-hander that centres on an under-privileged hairdresser who goes to University and develops a special relationship with her tutor. Originally commissioned by the RSC in 1980, it was made into film, starring Julie Walters and Michael Caine, in 1983.

Shirley Valentine (1986) covers similar thematic territory, comprising a monologue delivered by a bored middle-aged Liverpool housewife who seeks escape and adventure abroad. It also successfully made the transition to the big screen, in 1989, starring Pauline Collins in the title role.

An actress as well as a writer, Meera Syal is best known for her television performances in the likes of The Kumars at No 42, Goodness Gracious Me, Fat Friends and All About Me. She’s previously appeared on the West End stage in The Vagina Monologues and Bombay Dreams.

Larry Lamb is best known for his TV work in EastEnders and Gavin and Stacey, while his recent stage credits include The Price and the Tricycle Theatre and The Five Wives of Maurice Pinder at the National. Laura Dos Santos was recently seen on the London stage playing  Alison opposite Jimmy Akingbola's Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger in 2008,

Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine follow Hannah Waddingham's six-night concert run at the Menier (See News, 11 Feb 2010). Currently at the Southwark venue, Matthew White's acclaimed revival of Sweet Charity starring Tamsin Outhwaite in the title role, continues until 7 March prior to a rumoured West End transfer (See The Goss, 9 Feb 2010).

From 19 May to 26 June 2010, the Menier will host the premiere of the Hal Prince-helmed musical Paradise Found, starring Mandy Patinkin (See Today's Other News::E8831265970116}).