Shirley Valentine, Wisbech

RICHARD PARR This enterprising Angles Centre could have chosen no finer play than Willy Russell's Shirley Valentine with which to launch its autumn season.

RICHARD PARR

This enterprising Angles Centre could have chosen no finer play than Willy Russell's Shirley Valentine with which to launch its autumn season.

Actress Lesley Mardle, in a one-woman monologue, gave an outstanding performance as the middle-aged housewife trapped within a domestic prison who eventually manages to break away to the freedom she so longs for.

Miss Mardle had the first-night audience completely captivated as she convincingly portrayed the rollercoaster of emotions that was Shirley's life. In the bittersweet Liverpudlian dialogue, with its rich strands of comedy, she took Thursday night's audience from laughter to tears in the flick of an eyelid.

Such was Miss Mardle's mastery of delivery of the classic perceptive Russell script, that we quickly endeared ourselves to her and felt her deep-rooted sadness at the loss of life she desperately wanted to live.

It is rare for an actress to be able to hold the audience's attention with a vice-like grip, but Miss Mardle achieved this through her wonderfully “real” performance.

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We so desperately wanted Shirley to take that brave step and escape from her humdrum existence and how we loved it when her dream became reality.

This is a must see play and you must move heaven and earth to try to see Lesley Mardle's performance, so skilfully directed by Paul Meyer.

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