Be Mine, "Shirley Valentine"

Shirley Valentine is a one-woman show that tells the endearing story of Shirley, a middle aged housewife in Liverpool. Shirley recounts tales of her youth, when she was ‘Brave Shirley,’ and contrasts that with stories about her now loveless marriage, where she finds more comfort in talking to the walls. The play begins after her friend, Jane, has given her tickets to go to Greece, and follows Shirley’s decision and attempts to justify a vacation. Shirley is witty and self aware, using dark humour to cope with her unfortunate situation. She explains her husband’s complacency by saying that he would not notice her disappearance as long as he continued to have meals put in front of him. She justifies her interest of going to Greece by saying that she’s just one of those silly women having a mid-life crisis. Her dark humour allows the audience to empathize with Shirley’s story while still making them laugh.

Shirley Valentine is a Laurence Oliver award winning show written by Willy Russell. It is also a book written by the same author. The Arts Project’s production of Shirley Valentine, features Valerie Grunté and the direction of Vicki Nicholls. FP Theatre supports the London Abused Women’s Centre Shine the Light on Women’s Abuse Campaign in which a portion of the proceeds from their November 1st production will be donated.

The play takes its shape through the use of storytelling; jumping between time frames and characters within stories ensures that one character can entertain the audience for the full two-hour show. The temporal quality of the play is essential to the audience’s understanding of Shirley. She creates a divide between herself and a past self that goes by her maiden name, Shirley Valentine. This divide between her present and past self also creates a self-imposed divide between herself and the young people of the world, described through her children. She tells the wall, and the fourth wall, about the restrictions placed around her by a society that did not believe in her. Valerie Grunté’s storytelling ability keeps the audience entertained and laughing for hours. By the end, the audience is rooting for Shirley to pursue her dreams, as she is such a likeable character.