Meera Syal stars as Shirley Valentine in the first major revival of Willy Russell’s Laurence Olivier Award-winning comedy.

Meet Shirley: a middle aged Liverpudlian housewife who talks to the wall whilst preparing her husband’s eggs and chips. She’s in a rut. What has happened to her life? When her best friend wins an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Greece she packs her bags, heads for the sun and starts to see the world and herself rather differently.

Shirley Valentine premiered in Liverpool in 1986 directed by Glen Walford, who returns to direct this new production. The role of Shirley was made famous by Pauline Collins, who played it in the West End and in the subsequent BAFTA-nominated film.

This year’s Shirley, Syal, is best known for her television comedy work on Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars At No. 42. Her screen work also includes Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee, My Sister Wife and Beautiful People. She has previously been seen on stage in The Vagina Monolgues, Serious Money and award-winning comedy Rafta Rafta at the National Theatre.

Shirley Valentine plays at the Menier Chocolate Factory alongside Educating Rita as part of a season dedicated to playwright and novelist Russell.

For more about Shirley Valentine at the Menier Chocolate Factory read the First Night Feature.

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