Willy Russell’s heart-warming comedy Shirley Valentine is being revived for the first time to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
The heart-warming comedy comes to Milton Keynes Theatre on March 27 for a week as part of a national tour and stars much loved actress Jodie Prenger in the title role.
Shirley is a Liverpool housewife. Her kids have left home and she makes egg and chips for her husband while talking to the wall. Where has her life disappeared to?
Out of the blue, her best friend offers her a trip to Greece for two weeks and she secretly packs her bags. She heads for the sun and starts to see the world and herself very differently.
With a career spanning over four decades Willy Russell is 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 and have won countless awards, they continue to be in constant production throughout the world.
Shirley Valentine was adapted into an Oscar nominated film starring Pauline Collins and Tom Conti.
Of the revival Willy Russell says: “It’s now thirty years since Shirley Valentine first walked onto the page, into my life and the lives of so many others.
“Shirley cooked her first meal of egg and chips on the stage of the Everyman Theatre Liverpool before then hoofing it down to London where, along with the cooking and talking to the wall, she started picking up the string of awards she’d win in the West End, on Broadway and in the film that earned both BAFTAs and Academy Award Nominations.
“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. There have been approaches and plans mooted but, somehow, it’s just never quite felt right and so I’ve resisted such efforts – until now!
“And what has made the difference? When producer Adam Spiegel introduced me to Jodie Prenger I knew in an instant that here was a formidable actress, one who possessed the grit and the warmth, the drive and the vulnerability, the energy and the heart to make Shirley Valentine really live again.
“How could any playwright resist that or deny the whole of the UK the chance to see Jodie bring Shirley to life?”
Jodie Prenger is best known for winning the role of Nancy in the West End production of Oliver! through the BBC television series I’d Do Anything.
Most recently Jodie 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.
Shirley Valentine plays at Milton Keynes Theatre from March 27-April 1.
Remaining Tour dates
April 3 – 8, Grand Theatre, Leeds April 10-15,Theatre Royal, Bath April 18-22, Wycombe Swan April 24-29, Lyceum, Sheffield May 2-6, King’s Theatre, Glasgow May 16-20, Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury May 22-27, Theatre Royal, Nottingham May 30-June 3, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh June 6-10, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry June 12-17, Wyvern Theatre, Swindon June 19-24, The Lowry, Saldford June 27-July 1, New Theatre, Cardiff July 3-8, Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells July 10-15, Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury July 17-22, Theatre Royal, Brighton July 24-29, Festival Theatre, Malvern September 11-16, Grand Theatre, Blackpool September 18-23, Floral Pavilion, New Brighton