I’ve seen Stephen Tompkinson live on stage before, and his TV work is always fantastic. So I’m convinced his role as Frank in Educating Rita is going to be absolutely amazing.
The major new stage production of the Willy Russell classic, directed by Max Roberts, also stars relative newcomer Jessica Johnson as Rita.
The story follows married hairdresser Rita as she enrols on an Open University course taught by frustrated poet and brilliant academic Frank. Though at first he’s less than keen on teaching the rough-and-ready Rita, he soon finds his love of literature reignited by his pupil’s enthusiasm. The touching play is a stunning piece of writing.
First commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the original show starred Julie Walters who went on to play the role again in the wonderful film version opposite Michael Caine.
Though Willy Russel is perhaps best known for his musical Blood Brothers, this is actually one of my favourite pieces of his. It’s poignant and funny and ever so touching. The intimate play with such a small cast makes it seem very special.
Stephen Tompkinson is perhaps best known for his turn in Trollied, Brassed Off and the recent TV drama Torvill & Dean. Jessica Johnson is more of a theatre star, with theatre credits actually including playing Rita in a production of the show at the Gala Theatre, Durham!
Educating Rita comes to the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford from Monday 6th-Saturday 11th May. Visit the website for more information and to book your tickets.