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Review Round-Ups

Critics enjoy Educating Rita despite a shaky start

The production starring Lenny Henry opened at the Minerva Theatre last week

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Lenny Henry (Frank) and Lashana Lynch (Rita) in Educating Rita
© Francis Loney

Maxwell Cooter, Whatsonstage


"Director Michael Buffong's new production features an all-black cast, which is a worthwhile idea, though the execution leaves something to be desired"

"Henry's performance never really catches fire"

"it's worth seeing for Lynch's performance alone; she's a Rita for our times"

Quentin Letts, Daily Mail


"Lashana Lynch, as Rita, is greatly affecting, though her Merseyside accent comes and goes a bit"

"Michael Buffong's production is not without its own drawbacks. The pauses between the numerous scenes start to feel beyond episodic and not all of Rita's costumes feel quite right"

"What a great story it is, celebrating intellectual excellence and shaming the laziness of those who have squandered privilege"

Dominic Maxwell, The Times


"there is a great performance lurking here once Henry completes his journey to accepting that Frank is there in him already"

"his co-star, Lashana Lynch, gives a propulsive, impressive turn as Rita, who goes from ignorant but free-thinking to emancipated"

"Never mind the wobbles, it's a good show. It might yet become a terrific one"

Michael Billington, The Guardian


"Having stumbled at the start, Henry ended the evening looking totally assured. But Russell's play really belongs to Rita and this production uncovers a potential star in Lashana Lynch"

"It's a great role but, in some respects, Russell's play has not aged well. Seeing it again, I was struck by the blatancy of its debt to Shaw's Pygmalion"

"Michael Buffong, who runs Talawa theatre company, directs with cool clarity"

Claire Allfree, Daily Telegraph


"A muted Henry recovered his footing to see through the first act before fully finding his stride in Act II"

"By casting two black actors, Michael Buffong's production subtly modernises a play while delighting, mainly through Lynch's eye-stingingly bright wardrobe, in its 1980s setting"

Educating Rita runs at the Minerva Theatre in Chichester until 25 July 2015.