MKFM's Vicki McCarthy from the Evening Show, covers for Arts Correspondent, Nancy Stevens while she’s on holiday and reviews Shirley Valentine at Milton Keynes Theatre.
Shirley Valentine - Willy Russell’s touching story of a downtrodden Scouse housewife, who feels that she no longer has a purpose in life besides looking after her ungrateful husband and being an unpaid servant for her ignorant, grown-up kids.
Shirley spends her days home alone, with her only confidant… the kitchen wall and has now begun to question her very existence. So when a chance to travel to Greece comes up, Shirley throws caution to the wind, not only embarking on her first trip abroad, but also on a delightful journey of self-discovery.
Made famous 28 years ago on the big screen, many of us are familiar with the film adaptation of Shirley Valentine and also with Pauline Collins’ and her magnificent portrayal of the lead character. The film saw Pauline star alongside a stellar supporting cast, including household names Joanna Lumley, Alison Steadman and Julia McKenzie. So many theatre-goers who have only seen the film may be surprised to learn that the original stage version is a one-woman show.
Step forward Jodie Prenger, first thrust into the spotlight in 2008, as she competed in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s BBC show “I’d Do Anything”, where she not only won the heart of the nation, but also the coveted part of Nancy in hit musical Oliver!
Since Oliver! Jodie has seen much success, from treading the boards in Spamalot, One Man, Two Guvnors and Calamity Jane, to regular appearances on TV and radio, as well as charity work for causes close to her heart.
So there I was - excited and confident in her experience and abilities - settling into my seat at MK Theatre, intrigued by how Jodie would tell the story up there all on her own and I very much looked forward to seeing how her monologue would engage the audience.
As a huge fan of the 1989 film, I knew most of the hilarious lines before they were spoken, but Jodie’s delivery and energy ensured that laughs were still plentiful. Aside from the hilarity, Jodie’s depiction of the story’s vulnerable (but extremely loveable) heroine Shirley perfectly captured the poignancy of the underlying theme of loneliness and a life being wasted.
Despite the Scouse accent being dubious in places (I grew up in Liverpool and had the accent when I moved to MK!), Jodie made her version of Shirley as equally as endearing as Pauline Collins did almost three decades ago; you felt her isolation, you felt her frustration and you felt her joy as she began to rediscover a zest for life that was all but diminished after marrying Joe and becoming Shirley Bradshaw.
With just two acts and two simple sets, all eyes and ears were totally on Jodie, as she transported the audience back to the 1980s. She performed in a way that felt like it included the audience, making it feel that you were just listening to the woes of a good friend over a cup of tea, in their kitchen.
This is a play that has endured well over the years and I personally would define the film as a classic, so watching Jodie own the character, the script and audience’s attention so beautifully was a delight to witness.
Shirley Valentine is now running at MK Theatre until April 1st. Ticket prices start at £15.00.
Man hospitalised following incident in Milton Keynes
Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses following an affray in Milton Keynes.
Tree planted in Milton Keynes park for Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III
The King’s personal representative for Buckinghamshire has selected Milton Keynes to be home to an official Coronation Tree.
Global tech company auctions specialist equipment ahead of move to Milton Keynes
Auction and asset management specialists NCM Auctions are working with world-leading experts in the electromagnetic spectrum, Spectrum Control, as they consolidate their UK testing and development sites.
Milton Keynes Community Foundation announce mental health and young people charity legacy
Milton Keynes Community Foundation proudly announces its management of MK YIS’ Trust, ensuring continued support for mental wellness among young people in our community.
New councillor elected in Milton Keynes by-election
Following the resignation of Councillor Brigid McBride on 9th January, a by-election took place in Milton Keynes yesterday.
Residents can nominate Milton Keynes Hospital staff for 2024 awards
Nominations are now open for the #TeamMKUH Staff Awards 2024 and residents in Milton Keynes are able to vote.
Women Leaders Awards in Milton Keynes announce headline sponsor
Milton Keynes-based NHBC is proud to be the headline sponsor for the Women Leaders UK Awards 2024.
Large amount of vapes and mobile phone stolen in Milton Keynes robbery
Thames Valley Police is releasing images of two individuals officers would like to speak to as they may have vital information following a robbery in Milton Keynes.
Milton Keynes-based Open University receives Queen’s Anniversary Prize at Buckingham Palace
The Open University was presented with a prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education by Her Majesty The Queen today.
Yellow weather warning in place across Milton Keynes as residents warned of flooding
A weather warning is in place until 6pm this evening.
Thames Valley Police looking to recruit 'brave horse' to join its force
Thames Valley Police's Mounted Section is looking to recruit a 'brave horse' to join its force.
Drop The Dead Donkey: The Reawakening comes to Milton Keynes Theatre this March
The original cast and writers of the award-winning TV comedy Drop The Dead Donkey reunite for a brand-new stage adaptation coming to Milton Keynes Theatre from Tue 12 – Sat 16 Mar.