Critical Review Of Educating Rita

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Review of Educating Rita

Educating Rita is a dramatic and comedic play about the differences in social class and education in Britain. The play takes place in the nineteen-seventies to the nineteen-eighties and is furthermore written by English playwright, lyricist, and composer William Russell. William Russell, also known as Willy Russell, was once a hairdresser himself, just like Rita. Though, today he is better known as the playwright of many successful plays, such as Shirley Valentine and Blood Brothers.

Educating Rita is a play about twenty-seven-year-old Rita from Liverpool. Rita is married to her husband Denny, who is never seen on stage, and works as a women’s hairdresser. Rita lives a mediocre life as a part of Britain’s working
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The director of the play was Barry McKenna, who has previously directed for That Theatre. He has also directed modern versions of various famous Shakespeare plays, for instance, Twelfth Night. With Barry McKenna’s previous experiences with interpreting classical plays, I had very high hopes for his interpretation of Educating Rita.
In Educating Rita, only two people are shown on stage, Rita and Frank. Dawn Wall, a British actress, played the role of Rita, and Ian Burns played the role of Frank. Ian Burns is British as well and is also the co-founder of That Theatre. Furthermore, he has featured in multiple other plays, in Denmark and directed by Barry McKenna, such as Proof and Blood Brothers.

Language is of very high importance in Educating Rita. Dawn Wall made a great effort in emphasizing Rita’s roots and social status by staying in a Liverpool inspired Scouse accent, almost throughout the entire play. This was in stark contrast to Frank’s posh and upper-class dialect which was combined with a very intellectual and wide vocabulary. Dawn Wall’s way of speaking, use of slang and multiple vulgar words, definitely gave her character much more life than Ian Burn’s character Frank. In addition to that, Rita also had multiple outfit changes whereas Frank stayed in the same shirt, positioning the same sweater in different ways on himself throughout the
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