Metro Theatre 
Shirley Valentine

When & Where January 13 - 29, 2023 at 8pm, matinees at 2pm | Metro Theatre, 1370 Marine Drive SW, Vancouver

Director Alison Schamberger Production Manager Joan Koebel Set Designer Warren Johnson Costume Design Christine Egerton-Ball Sound Designer Roger Monk Lights and Technical Director Les Erskine Stage Manager Heather Webster

Reviewer Christian Steckler

Shirley Valentine offers an insight into an “ordinary” woman’s questions about the value of her life as she approaches middle age. She questions her relationship with her husband, her grown children, her neighbours and friends, as might be expected, but her examination of herself, her loyalty to her own soul and spirit, is the meat of the play. And, of course, what she learns about herself applies to us all. The brilliance of Russell’s writing shines in her utterances of self-realization.

This Metro Theatre production is outstanding. The careful direction of Alison Schamberger is crucial to the dynamism of the play, offering natural and realistic action, using the space of the set to hold the focus on an interesting, active Shirley - particularly important in a one-performer piece. And the single performer, Jill Raymond, is spectacular in her portrayal. Her ability to draw the audience into the simple, natural, folksy personality of Shirley is astounding. Raymond executes masterful transitions of mood as she contemplates the people in her life, and the effects they have on her.

The production crew deserves credit in making this performance so riveting. The set is designed and compactly crafted to focus attention on Shirley. Costuming is absolutely realistic and appropriate, as are props. Lighting and sound, though not complicated, are flawless.

Shirley Valentine is a story of loss and recovery, of lessons learned and dealt with. It is a story of what is valuable in the lives of those who care to be honest with themselves. See this brilliant production and be moved by it. You will learn so much about yourself.

© 2023 Christian Steckler