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Shirley Valentine

Shirley Valentine
Your Price: $15.95 CDN
Author: Willy Russell
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 77
Pub. Date: 1989
ISBN-10: 0573691207
ISBN-13: 9780573691201
Cast Size: 1 woman

About the Play:

Named among the "10 most influential postwar British plays" by The Guardian (UK)

Shirley Valentine is a full-length dramatic comedy by Willy Russell. The heroine in this actor's tour-de-force, a put-upon mother and housewife, leaves the drudgery of cooking dinner for her husband, packs her bags and heads for the sun. The note on the kitchen table reads "Gone to Greece back in two weeks."

Shirley Valentine is a transformative comedy that follows Mrs. Joe Bradshaw – 42-year-old mother of two grown-up children – an ordinary middle class English housewife. But underneath there is the former Shirley Valentine longing to get out. As she prepares chips and egg for dinner, she ruminates on her life and tells the wall about her husband, her children, her past, and an invitation from a girlfriend to join her on a free holiday in Greece to search for romance and adventure. Ultimately, Shirley does escape to Greece, has a life-altering "adventure" with a local fisherman and decides to stay. Shirley, breaking out of the mold cast for her by society, is brilliantly shown with humour, warm sympathy and human insight.

Shirley Valentine premiered in 1986 at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool. It took the world by storm with a West End premiere in 1988 at the Vaudeville Theatre and a Broadway premiere in 1989 at the Booth Theatre. The play has been widely performed in regional repertory, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 1 woman

What people say:

"When Shirley blossoms on her sneakily planned Greek holiday, her femininity unfurls disarmingly, and there are moments of pathos throughout." — Evening Standard

"A thrilling, cheer raising piece of theatre ... It is a simple and brilliant idea ... the profound and perennial point of the comedy is the problem we seem to have contemplating the idea of a woman alone – in a pub, on a beach, in a restaurant. This is what Shirley learns to combat as she unravels her own sexual and social identity. The play is not only funny, it is also moving." — The Financial Times

"Absolutely smashing." — The New York Post

"In this play [Mr Russell] touches English audiences directly in a way that no other playwright has done since the early John Osborne ... brilliantly funny...." — The Times

"A joyful, captivating piece of theatre." — The New York Daily News

About the Playwright:

Willy Russell is one of the most successful English playwrights of his generation. He is best known for Blood Brothers, Educating Rita, and Shirley Valentine. One of the longest-running musicals in London's West End, Blood Brothers won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical in 1983, and its 1988 production is still running. Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine were both awarded the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, in 1980 and 1988 respectively. Both plays were made into successful films and are in constant production throughout the world.

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