Two hours watching a lone woman walking around stage talking to a wall, not my usual night out.
After winning the BBC1’s ‘I’d Do Anything’ to take the place of Nancy in Mackintosh’s Oliver!, Jodie Prenger really showed she could do anything pacing the boards of Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre, holding an audience for two nearly two hours on her own in this opening night of a week long performance of Shirley Valentine.
Many people will know the story from the 1989 film although theatre goers got the first glimpse of the stage version of Wily Russell’s Shirley Valentine when it made its West End stage debut in 1988.
Shirley spends her days talking to the kitchen wall whilst waiting for the husband to come home to serve him tea when a friend gives her a ticket for a two week holiday in Greece.
Debating whether to go or indeed tell her husband, Shirley grasps the opportunity to head off to ‘live her life’, even if it is for just two weeks…
Jodie Prenger assisted the audience in visualising the other characters in the storyline through a variety of entertaining if sometimes ‘dodgy’ Scouse accents followed by some spot on Greek in the form of her very own Christopher Colombus ‘Costas’.
The odd slip of the Scouse tongue took nothing away from the performance and Jodie had the Swindon audience of all ages laughing at her one liners throughout.
Couple this performance with the detailed yet simple set design and yet another much loved novel from Willy Russell and you have got yourself a really good night out.
So sitting at the Wyvern watching one woman talk to herself for two hours would not have been my first choice of evening entertainment but had I not been invited along this evening I would have missed out on great one woman show, wouldn’t I wall?
Shirley Valentine is at Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre until Saturday 17th June. For tickets and information visit www.swindontheatres.com