WCT's Educating Rita 'refreshing and real'
Educating Rita, the current production by Western Canada Theatre, is acting at its finest.
And, for her debut on the Sagebrush Theatre stage, Holly Lewis is magnificent.
The Willy Russell play is the story of Rita, played by Lewis, a working-class Liverpudlian hairdresser who decides to get an education.
She enrols in an open-university English literataure course and encounters her tutor, Frank, played by Scott Bellis.
The professor, in the more-than-capable hands of Bellis, is an alcoholic, disillusioned teacher and poet assigned to work with Rita.
Lewis’s characterization of the title character is replete with brilliant timing and she strongly controls the emotional development of the role.
Bellis is believable and captivating with his portrayal as a middle-aged man, bitter and bored by his own mundane, humdrum existence.
The costume and set design by Drew Facey are equally superb. The set captured the room of a true English university professor — I could almost smell the musty books that covered the walls and floor of his study.
The costumes were accurate to the era and to the characters who wore them.
This is a funny, thought-provoking and fast-paced play that had me engaged in every scene.
One in particular must be noted.
There is a scene in which Rita is bowled over by her first Shakespearean play, Romeo and Juliet, and her engagement in her study is refreshing and real.
“Why on earth would you want to bother giving up an evening in a pub to watch amateur dramatics?” Frank asks Rita.
For me, the response should have been: “To watch exactly this kind of play.”
Educating Rita continues to March 2.
Tickets are available at the Kamloops Live Box Office, 0125 Lorne St., 250-374-5483, kamloopslive.ca.