A wonderful play has debuted at the Ridgefield Theatre Barn in Ridgefield Ct. “Educating Rita” is based on the 1983 film starring Michael Caine and Julie Waters.
The story is about Rita, a young working class married woman from Liverpool England who feels that there is more to life than her job as a hairdresser and her husband who pressures her to have a baby and start a family. Deep down Rita is seeking more to her existence and decides to enroll in a local college and is assigned Professor Frank Bryant as her tutor in English Literature. Rita is young, full of energy and excited to learn and change her life for the better. She perceives the well educated to be better off in life and happy. Frank however is quite the opposite, and though he is well educated, he hates teaching, drinks way too much and laments his life, his failed marriage and his lost ambition of being a great poet. He shutters himself away in his office with his books and his scotch.
Despite their differences , Rita provides a spark in his life. Her youth and her energy revive the Professor though briefly. Throughout the play we see Rita slowly evolve from the uneducated hairdresser to a young woman expanding her understanding of literature and at the same time experiencing enormous personal growth. There are many levels to the story as the audience watches the two very separate tracks each of the players follow. Indeed, though it is Rita who was transformed by her reluctant teacher, in the end it is she who becomes his inspiration in life.
The performance stars Lynette Victoria as Rita who is both charming and brilliant in bringing the character to life. There was never a moment during the play that I thought I was watching actors, but one feels you are actually following the lives of real people. Nick Kaye brings his skills to the character of Frank and provides the audience with a wonderful performance that stays with you after the house lights come up. Considering this play has a cast of only two, the performers should be congratulated for maintaining the interest of the audience for over two hours.
Direction by Brian DeToma is first rate as he really brings the story and characters to life. The rest of the creative team Timothy Hubenthal (Set design), Mark Hankia (lighting) Panni Layton and Paulette Layton (Producers), have worked together to create an intimate setting that makes the audience feel that you are actually in the Professor’s office with Rita and Frank. An excellent evening.
The show plays through March 19th, so please do not miss this performance. Tickets are $24 each and $20 for students, seniors and veterans. Seating is cabaret style at round and rectangular tables. Grab your friends and enjoy a great night out at the theater.
Ridgefield Theater Barn
37 Halpin Lane Ridgefield Ct
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