Review: Educating Rita at Chichester Festival Theatre

Educating Rita
Educating Rita
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The star of this year’s Chichester Festival Theatre programme is undoubtedly the newly-knighted Sir Lenny Henry, who donned a succession of shabby cardigans in his role as the fading academic Dr Frank Bryant.

Henry is gaining a reputation for challenging roles and Educating Rita is no exception.

With one static musty set which is more Hogwart’s Library than 1980s university, the whole play relies only on the two characters. Whilst Bryant slowly drinks himself out of a job, the effervescent Rita is gaining herself an education.

Rita is beautifully and understatedly played by the young actress Lashana Lynch, her numerous costume changes take the audience though a kaleidiscope of 1980s fashion, the only real hint of the age of the piece.

The razor sharp scripts ensures that the comedy of the more famous film translates with ease to the small stage.

With writer Willy Russell in the audience, not surprisingly after such a tremendous performance, both actors received a well deserved standing ovation.