Shirley Valentine & Educating Rita

Willy Russell’s thematically linked plays from the 80s feature two trapped Liverpudlian women at different stages of their lives. Both realise time is passing them by and that, if they don’t grab the moment, opportunities will be lost.

Meera Syal’s middle-aged housewife Shirley, talking to the wall as she prepares her stick-in-the-mud husband’s egg and chips supper, flies off to Greece where she blossoms in the liberating (if temporary) embrace of a charming local lothario.

Spirited twenty-something hairdresser Rita (Laura Dos Santos) broadens her horizons tackling an Open University literature course under the boozy tutelage of failed poet Frank (Tim Pigott-Smith). All three performances are first-rate and Russell writes with enduring warmth and wit.

» Trafalgar Studios 1, SW1A 2DY 
Tube: Charing Cross
0844 871 7632
Until October 30
From £15

Review: Louise Kingsley