Review: Educating Rita, Pomegranate Theatre

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Chemistry is key in this classic play by Willy Russell because there are just two actors on stage throughout.

Brian Capron – once ‘Tricky Dicky’ Richard Hillman in Coronation Street – stars as jaded former poet turned academic Frank.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Daley, of The Archers fame, is his unusual, working class student Rita, who enters like a whirlwind.

Capron, whose character has sought solace in booze, is set in his ways when dizzy hairdresser Rita literally tumbles through his study door and the relationship fizzes between the pair.

Moments of pathos are more than balanced by upbeat repartee – and the actors’ movements and gestures around the stage help maintain the action.

Daley’s Rita is all pouting red lipstick, tight tops, short skirts and stilletto-clad bravado before the interval.

But, in the second half, she emerges like a butterfly from a chrysalis into a student who enjoys intellectual debates and wears hippy outfits – much to her tutor’s disappointment.

Capron manages to portray Frank’s growing alcohol problems in a natural way – which, as he admitted after the show, was quite a challenge.

Depictions of both characters is quite believable and played with wit and humour.