Educating Rita kick-starts summer season at the Little Theatre in Sheringham
- Credit: Archant
Educating Rita kick-started the summer repertory drama season at Sheringham Little Theatre.
And - with the acting talents of the protagonists Melissa Clements and Mr Lavers - it was an enticing nugget of what more is to come.
A failed poet and unlucky in love English literature tutor Frank Bryant, played by Mr Lavers, was stuck in a rut until the brash and comical Rita breezed into his life as the 'girl who wanted to know everything'.
Gruff, flirtatious and more than a little curmudgeonly, Mr Lavers' - who trained at the Bristol Old Vic theatre school - portrayal of Frank was endearing and touching.
Perhaps the audience at times joined him in his often exasperated attitude toward the unreserved and relentlessly persistent Rita but, like him, it was almost impossible to dislike the young and enthusiastic student who had fallen victim of her own circumstances.
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Ms Clements effortlessly committed to the Liverpudlian accent which was so important to her character's identity - and she gave the audience permission to laugh when she descended into a robotic imitation of a 'posh' London accent.
There were jokes aplenty executed brilliantly by both actors - softening the more gritty topics introduced in the play.
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At one point the script referred self consciously to the merits of an 'amateur production' to which Mr Lavers' as Frank sneered his nose in disgust.
Refreshingly open minded Rita's 26-year-old character is expressed through a number of costume changes which progressed from a denim mini skirt with a pink top to a bohemian patterned dress falling far below the knee.
Like the setting - a tutorial room in a Victorian-built university - Frank's appearance is never-changing only his demeanour fluctuates in time with his next bottle of whisky.
The 55th anniversary summer repertory season at the Little Theatre is made up of five of their most popular plays ending on September 5.