We all know the story of the bored Bristish housewife who decides to jet off to Greece for a two-week holiday and whilst there, remembers who she used to be: not Joe Bradshaw’s wife, but Shirley Valentine.
This performance of the one-hander by Willy Russel is completely refreshing and charming. Starring Lisa Bobbert, the KickstArt production had me enthralled from start to finish. I’m sure I must have gazed at the stage from my front row seat with an expression of awe, eyes sparkling and smile shining.
Lisa Bobbert is utterly captivating as Shirley. I am aquainted with Lisa as she is a membet of my church and so I have often come into contact with her when not performing. I know other actors and often find that have a real-world connection with someone, no matter how slight, can ruin the effect of watching that person on stage. Not Lisa. I truly believed that she was Shirley.
The play relies on Shirley relating incidents which have happened off stage to the audience and I was amazed at Bobbert’s ability to change her facial expressions, body language and excellent British middle-class accent in order to convey all the action. Bobbert was able to capture the essence of many characters who didn’t once appear to the audience without losing the essence of Shirley. I know exactly what Joe and Jane were like from Bobbert’s change in facial expression, accent and movements.
This is truly a human story. I laughed out loud (I have to admit sometimes the embarrassing kind which made me choke on the illegal Smarties I was eating) ans certainly shed a tear or two, but mostly, I felt inspired by this fictional character who seemed to be someone I know.
Shirley Valentine runs until 10 June. If you’ve missed it, you’ve missed out, but you can settle for the movie.