Educating Rita: the tour, started up and down the UK in April, and I was thrilled to catch this iconic piece at Darlington Hippodrome earlier this month. Starring Stephen Tompkinson as Frank and Jessica Johnson as the insatiable Rita, the show was a brilliant production packed with issues a current audience can still relate to regarding the inequalities of the education system.
The play tells the story of unhappily married hair dresser Rita, who enrols on an Open University course seeking to expand her horizons where she meets tutor Frank; a frustrated poet who seeks solace in drink. Although Frank is unsure about teaching Rita at first, they both strike up an unusual friendship and teach each other a different perspective on literature and learning. The beginning for Rita is challenging and through the play we see her grow and change and finally believe she can break through her own barriers to learning.
I loved the relationship building up between Frank and Rita and there are so many great one liners one cannot fail to develop an affection for Rita and hope for the best for her. It also made me reflect on the issues in education today and how many feel that elitism is still residing in our modern times. Jessica Johnson is an amazingly charismatic actress who strongly persuades the audience to root for her and Stephen Tompkinson in this iconic role is a joy to behold and believe in. If you can catch this amazing production while its touring you won’t be disappointed.
For more information on the tour visit: https://britishtheatre.com/educating-rita-uk-tour/
Rita: “Oh Yes. When I listen to poetry and music then I can live. You see, darling, the rest of the time it’s just me. And that’s not enough.”
I was invited along through Artspod to review the show, all opinions are my own.