Saturday, July 17th, 2010
THE perenially-popular play Educating Rita takes to the stage at Wanneroo’s Limelight Theatre this August, delivering heart-warming results when different worlds collide.

Written by Willy Russell and directed by Sue Mainwaring, it is perhaps best-remembered from the 1983 film version with Michael Caine and Julie Walters as a teacher and student looking for new direction in their lives.

Educating Rita follows the relationship between hairdresser Rita, who has a desperate thirst for knowledge, and Dr Frank Bryant, an alcoholic university professor.

“Both have reached an impasse in their lives,” Mainwaring said. “Rita feels trapped by her marriage, which seems to be mapped out by her friends and family into motherhood and just settling for what she’s got.

“Wanting to broaden her horizons, she joins the Open University to study English literature and is assigned to Frank, whose disillusioned outlook on life drives him to seek refuge in the bottles of whisky hidden in his bookshelves.

“Rita is forthright and hungry to find some meaning to life – the effects of this are both amusing and serious as her fresh, intuitive approach becomes clouded and stifled as she grapples with the problem of a formal education geared to the passing of exams.”

Describing Educating Rita as an “entertaining comedy of life”, Mainwaring chose to direct the play because it is well-written and makes interesting comments on the divide between educated and non-educated people.

“Because of that divide, their different approach on life affects each other,” she said. “Frank soon discovers that Rita has a lot more commonsense than his educated peers and he admires her zest for life and simple, natural intelligence.”

Involved with Limelight Theatre for the past 15 years, Mainwaring is a theatre jack-of-all-trades having acted, directed, built sets and helped with costumes and properties, as well as serving a two-year stint as president.

She has won awards for best actor, best production and best set and has also produced Cats and Annie at the Regal Theatre.

With Educating Rita, Mainwaring says one of the challenges is maintaining the audience’s interest when there are only two characters on stage.

“We need to bring out the comedy and the pathos and also emphasise the development of the characters and their relationship,” she said.

“It’s a wonderful play, written by the man responsible for Shirley Valentine, and a very rich piece from an actor’s point of view.”

Educating Rita plays at 8pm, August 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21. Tickets are $18 adults, $15 concession and $10 for children.

Book on (08) 9571 8591 between 9am and midday, Monday to Friday, or online at

Limelight Theatre is located on Civic Drive, Wanneroo, Western Australia.

rita1-3: Worlds collide when Bob Mainwaring and Susannah Devenish meet in Educating Rita at Limelight Theatre.

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Limelight Theatre

The Limelight Theatre in Wanneroo, Western Australia, is the home of the Wanneroo Repertory Inc.
Sue Mainwaring
P: (08) 9571 8591


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