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Saturday, August 10, 2019


(Lisa Bobbert)

A remarkable virtuoso performance, the like of which I have not witnessed on a stage in years! (Review by Barry Meehan)

“Hello, wall!”

Shirley Valentine the movie features on many people’s list of top ten films of all time. Firstly, the script is remarkably crafted, and secondly – Pauline Collins’ performance as Shirley is a wonderful piece of acting. But as much as she brought the screen Shirley to life as a thoroughly believable character, so too does Lisa Bobbert bring Shirley to life on stage in a remarkable virtuoso performance, the like of which I have not witnessed on a stage in years!

No matter whether you are male or female, there is definitely a bit of Shirley in all of us. Did we make the right choices and decisions at an early age? Have we allowed ourselves to fall into an unsatisfying rut, leaving our childhood dreams in the dust, and – above all - is it too late to do anything about it at this stage of our lives?

There are two halves to the stage show – the first set in Shirley’s kitchen, where we find her making a meal (egg and chips, which she actually prepares in front of us!) for her somewhat demanding husband. We are regaled with very entertaining stories about her family, friends, neighbours and school enemy turned friend Marjorie. Much as the laughs come thick and fast, there is an underlying air of unease with her present situation.

The second act takes place on a wonderful beach set. Shirley is there courtesy of her friend Jane, who has won a trip for two to an island in Greece. Jane abandons her as soon as they arrive, and Shirley sets out on her journey of self-discovery, helped along by an adventure on a fishing boat with the local taverna owner Costas, referred to by Shirley as “Christopher Columbus and the island of Clitoris”.

Credit for this production, which is part of The Playhouse 2019 Women’s Month celebrations, must go to the KickstArt team. Unobtrusive direction is by Steven Stead, with sets by Greg King. But major hat-off to Lisa Bobbert for a truly remarkable solo performance. We are indeed blessed to have her in Durban. Sincere thanks to her for showing us how to re-create ourselves by taking the plunge and living our lives to the full.

Unfortunately, there is only one more performance of Shirley Valentine at the Playhouse tonight (Saturday August 10) at 193h0. Tickets – if they are still available - range from R120 to R150 and can be bought at the Playhouse box-office – phone 031 369 9596/40 – or online and at Pick n Pay outlets via WebTickets (the customer support line is 086 111 0005).

If you miss it here, look out for it if it ever comes to your part of the world! – Barry Meehan