Educating Rita at the Ath

WARMINSTER’s versatile and talented Athenaeum Limelight Players (ALPs) are staging a production of Willy Russell’s brilliant two-hander, Educating Rita, at the Athenaeum Theatre from Thursday 21st July to Saturday 23rd at 7.30pm.

Famously and successfully filmed with Julie Walters and Michael Caine, the play is a witty yet poignant look at a working-class woman’s attempts to change her social circumstances. The joy of the play, compared with the film, is the changing relationship between Rita and Frank, the tutor, in whose rooms all the action happens.

Frank is a 50-something English tutor of English, disillusioned with students, teaching and his life generally. He seeks refuge in bottles of whisky hidden on the bookshelves around his room.

Rita is a forthright, 26-year-old hairdresser who is hungry to “know everything”. She embarks on an Open University course and her process is both amusing and serious as her fresh, intuitive approach initially captivates Frank but her views become clouded and stifled as she grapples with the problem of a formal education geared to the passing of exams.

The role of Rita in this production is played by Charlotte Stringer who is well-known to local audiences – and well-loved for her performance as that other hairdresser, southern belle Truvy in ALP’s production of Steel Magnolias. Marc Cox, who has directed many recent productions, plays Frank.

ALPs’ final production of 2022 will be The Vicar of Dibley Christmas.

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