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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

Shirley Valentine

Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool
April 23 – May 9

Author: Willy Russell
Director: Glen Walford
Cast: Pauline Daniels
Running Time: 2hrs 30 mins

If you’ve never seen Shirley Valentine before or whether you’re contemplating seeing it for the thousandth time, this outstanding production of Shirley Valentine starring Pauline Daniels is one that delivers can safely ensures that everything its legend says is absolutely true.

Promo image for 'Shirley Valentine'.

Not only does Daniels portray Shirley Bradshaw nee Valentine, she moves beneath her skin and inhabits her in way that is uncannily natural and so brings an extra dimension to a character so familiar it might have been easy to have slipped into making her something of a cliché, thanks to the star’s exceptional timing and stage presence.

Glen Walford, the play’s   original Director, has once again aided brilliantly in bringing further sparkle to the piece, so that all is lain out before the audience in a manner that guarantees the fact that audiences will both laugh and cry, as Russell’s exemplary words tumble forth.


With a set, in the first act, that sees Shirley’s kitchen blend in with the street outside before changing, in the second act into the sun-kissed beaches of Greece, simplicity and understatement are clearly the key and it works magnificently, so that Pauline Daniels is left to do what she does best, entertain.

With a plethora of awards already under its belt, Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine is something of a theatrical institution and yet, with this outing, if possible, Liverpool Comedienne, Pauline Daniels, has taken the Mum who wants away from her hum-drum existence to new heights that others might only dream of.

Chris High.

Shirley Valentine
Shirley Valentine sits on her suitcase
Shirley Valentine in her kitchen

© Dave Evans


Image link: Royal Court Theatre  official website



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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