Willy Russell was at the Menier Chocolate Factory last night to see the venue's revival of his award-winning 1980s comic plays Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine.

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. At the Chocolate Factory, Larry Lamb and Laura Dos Santos star in Jeremy Sams' production.

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 - this time round Meera Syal is talking to the wall, directed by Glen Walford (who commissioned and directed the original 1986 Liverpool Everyman production).

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF EDUCATING RITA's; 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
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PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM.


Also opening this week was the transfer of Oliver Cotton's debut play Wet Weather Cover to the Arts Theatre.

The comedy, which premiered at the King’s Head Theatre in January, stars Michael Brandon (the National's original Jerry Springer) and Steve Furst as two actors who are forced together when the filming of an epic movie is delayed by torrential rain whilst on location in Spain.

The production is directed by Kate Fahy (the actress wife of Jonathan Pryce, making her directorial debut) and designed by Tanya McCallin. The cast also includes Pepe Balderrama.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF WET WEATHER COVER's; 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
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PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM.