REVIEW: Shirley Valentine, Norwich Theatre Royal

Jodie Prenger in Shirley Valentine
Jodie Prenger in Shirley Valentine

Shirley Valentine, 
Theatre Royal Norwich

We all remember the charming 1989 movie about a bored housewife from Liverpool in a stagnating marriage who ran off to Greece to find herself.

Starring Pauline Collins in the title role and Tom Conti as her Greek love, or rather sex, interest, it struck a chord with all middle-aged women who wondered where the hell their lives and former selves had gone as they find themselves someone else’s dogsbody.

Now Jodie Prenger, best known as a singer and the winner of the hit TV talent show I’d Do Anything, takes on the original one-hander stage play by Willy Russell - the undisputed master at dissecting a slice of British society.

It is a change of direction for her but boy does she do it well. She is extremely likeable in the role as quirky Shirley, chatting to the kitchen wall as there’s nobody else, and clearly yet amusingly conveying her frustration.She is on stage throughout, getting through a lot of script, and doesn’t put a foot wrong, even when cooking her infamous chip n egg!

Certainly the audience appreciated her energy and the cleverness of the piece - Shirley Valentine is all about grasping life with both hands and making the most of it.

Our heroine is described as ‘brave’ in the piece and that sets her apart.

She won’t settle for second best - and none of us should.

The show continues until Saturday, visit

Sarah Hardy