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Shirley Valentine at Coventry's Belgrade Theatre

Ian Hughes 30th May, 2017

SHIRLEY Valentine will be musing on life at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre next week.

Jodie Prenger stars in Willy Russell’s heart-warming comedy which is celebrating its 30th anniversary since first taking to the stage.

The one-character comedy follows Liverpool housewife Shirley. Her kids have left home and she makes chips and egg 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, heads for the sun and starts to see the world and herself very differently.

The stage production was an instant hit when it first premiered in 1986 and went on to be adapted into an Oscar nominated film three years later, starring Pauline Collins and Tom Conti.

With a career spanning over four decades 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.

Of the revival, Russell said, “It’s now 30 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.”

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 she 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 is at the Belgrade from June 6 to 10.

Visit www.belgrade.co.uk for tickets and further details.

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