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Review: SHIRLEY VALENTINE at Berkshire Theatre Group Reminds That Most “Don't Do What We Want To Do, We Do What We Have To Do”.

"Hello Wall"

Review: SHIRLEY VALENTINE at Berkshire Theatre Group Reminds That Most “Don't Do What We Want To Do, We Do What We Have To Do”.
Corrina May
Photo: Emma K. Rothenberg-Ware

SHIRLEY VALENTINE by Willy Russell follows a bored, middle-aged Liverpool housewife trapped in a stale, loveless marriage, who finds herself talking to the wall while she prepares her husband's chips 'n' egg, wondering what happened to her life. Feeling like she's stagnated, in a rut and finding solace in her daily glass of wine, she muses over the lack of excitement in her life. When a friend invites her on holiday to Greece, she leaves the drudgery of cooking dinner for her husband, packs her bags and heads for the sun. While relaxing on holiday, she rediscovers the woman she used to be and the happiness she has been missing; Shirley begins to see the world, and herself, in a different light. This production is directed by BTG Artistic Associate Eric Hill and features Corinna May as Shirley.

Review: SHIRLEY VALENTINE at Berkshire Theatre Group Reminds That Most “Don't Do What We Want To Do, We Do What We Have To Do”.
Corinna May
Photo: Jacey Rae Russell

The play premiered in Liverpool in 1986. Two years later it played London's West End with Pauline Williams and received multiple Laurence Olivier Awards. In 1989, Williams opened in the role on Broadway and received Drama Desk, Outer Circle, and Tony Awards for her performance. Williams was later replaced by Ellen Burstyn on Broadway but returned to the role for the 1989 film version.

While the play is not a classic, or blockbuster, and some of the references are slightly dated (The Sexual Awakening, Encyclopedia Britannica, Dynasty, Rambo) the material holds up and SHIRLEY VALENTINE is still a delightfully amusing British Comedy. In the hands of Hill and May audiences sit back, relax, and fall spellbound as she shares stories of her very average ordinary daily existence. May's command of the stage for two hours is impressive. Her Shirley is comfortable, relaxed, and easy to get familiar with. She evolves into a wise and trusted old friend. When she ultimately rejects the trappings of her ho hum reality to live life fully, we are truly happy for her as she imparts on us that "Dreams are never in the places we expect them to be".

Review: SHIRLEY VALENTINE at Berkshire Theatre Group Reminds That Most “Don't Do What We Want To Do, We Do What We Have To Do”.
Corinna May
Photo: Jacey Rae Russell

The Artistic Company includes Scenic Designer Randall Parsons, Costume Designer Elivia Bovenzi Blitz, Lighting Designer Matthew E. Adelson, Sound Designer J Hagenbuckle, Dialect Coach Jennifer Scapetis-Tycer, Casting Director Alan Filderman, Stage Manager Jason Weixelman, and Production Assistant Samantha Leahan. Tickets at www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org or by calling (413) 997-4444.



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