Shirley Valentine

Shirley Valentine Play

It’s a hard task performing a one woman show and taking on a range of roles alone. And to achieve it with a Scouse accent when you are Scottish is even more impressive!

But that’s just what actress Sally Reid, known best for her role as PC Sarah Fletcher in television hit Scots Squad, is wowing the crowds with, in playwright Willy Russell’s 1986 monologue about a bored Liverpudlian housewife’s mid-life crisis.

The Pitlochry Festival Theatre production, which has seen Sally win the outstanding performance award from the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland, has a simple set which transports the audience back to the 1980s when the story was a hit film.

Shirley Valentine spends a lot of her time talking to her kitchen wall. The children have flown the nest, and her husband Joe has turned from a fun loving guy into a middle aged grump.

Life is so predictable for poor Shirley, that she has to have that day’s same tea as last week, on the table at the same time each night and eat it in silence as her husband ignores her.

So, with a bottle of wine for comfort, Shirley confesses all her problems to the wall and the audience gets to listen in as she describes her marriage like the Middle East, i.e. no solution and that sex is like going to the supermarket, because after all that pushing and shoving, you come out with very little.

Shirley runs through her life with humour as she confesses how she has been ignored from child to womanhood.

Shirley Valentine

Some of the jokes are a little dated for the sophisticated modern theatregoer, but the story itself is a warm one of hope despite adversity and Sally is just the right person to play the character.

Not only does she take on the role of Shirley, but convincingly through her wonderful acting, she lulls you into believing that Joe is on stage too, along with her friend Jane who persuades her to run off to Greece for a two week holiday.

Leaving a note on the fridge for Joe, Shirley hop foots it to the sun and a second set of a bright sunny beach, where she starts to relax and unravel her problems.

And when she is abandoned by Jane, she finds love with Costas, a Greek waiter, who uses his charms to enjoy some holiday love.

The play unravels as Shirley grows in confidence and behind the humour there is an important message that life is important and how we shouldn’t waste a minute of it.

Shirley Valentine runs until Saturday 29th June 2024. For more information and ticket availability, please visit:

Author Bio:

Rebecca Hay is an experienced travel writer and member of The British Guild of Travel Writers. Follow her adventures with her family

Photographs by Fraser Band

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