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Books By Willy Russell
'Willy Russell is less concerned with political tub-thumping than with weaving a close-knit story about the working of fate and destiny ... it carries one along with it in almost unreserved enjoyment" Guardian
One of the longest-running and most successful ever West End musicals, Blood Brothers premiered at the Liverpool Playhouse in January 1983.
Educating Rita premiered at the RSC Warehouse, London, in June 1980. Voted Best Comedy of 1980, it was subsequently made into a highly successful film with Michael Caine and Julie Walters.
Shirley Valentine, 42-year-old put-upon mother and housewife, leaves the drudgery of cooking dinner for her husband, packs her bags and heads for the sun. The note on the kitchen table reads "Gone to Greece back in two weeks." "It is a simple and brilliant idea...the profound and perennial point of the comedy is the problem we seem to have contemplating the idea of a woman alone - in a pub, on a beach, in a restaurant. This is what Shirley learns to combat as she unravels her own sexual and social identity. The play is not only funny, it is also moving." (Michael Coveney, Financial Times)
One for the Road "starts...with the mid-life hero torn between the security of married life in a dormer bungalow on a northern housing estate and dreams of being a rucksacked super-tramp. Mr Russell writes with knowledgeable venom about a world where Beethoven Underpass leads to Wagner Walkway and where anyone who doesn't join Weight Watchers or the Ramblers Club is regarded as a social deviant." (Francis King, Sunday Telegraph)
Mrs Kay's 'Progress Class' are unleashed for a day's coach trip to Conway Castle in Wales - in an exuberant celebration of the joys and agonies of growing up and being footloose, fourteen and free from school.
'The skill and zest of the show . . . derive from its success in following the adult argument through while preserving all the fun of a story mainly played by children . . . I have rarely seen a show that combined such warmth and such bleakness.' The Times
This edition contains the music to the play.
Whether for use in the classroom or independent study, these editions offer a fully comprehensive and lightly glossed play text with accompanying notes specifically directed towards readers of this age, which unravel essential topics and challenge all students to delve further into literary analysis.
A well established modern classic, Willy Russell's Blood Brothers tells the story of Mickey and Eddie, twins separated at birth who grow up to lead very opposite lives, but which constantly and inevitably intersect.
In addition to some on-page explanatory notes and the play text, this edition contains sub-headed analyses of themes, characters, context and dramatic devices, as well as background information on the playwright.
The Methuen Drama GCSE Student Editions never lose sight of their readership, and offer students the confidence to engage with the material, explore their own interpretations, and improve their understanding of the works.
Blood Brothers: A Liverpudlian West Side Story, this is the story of twin brothers separated at birth because their mother cannot afford to keep them both. 'One of those rare exceptions, where a show continues to pack a punch after many years on the road and in the West End' - What's On Stage, (5 stars)
Our Day Out: The Musical: Mrs Kay's 'Progress Class' are unleashed for a day's coach trip to Conway Castle in Wales - in an exuberant celebration of the joys and agonies of growing up and being footloose, fourteen and free from school. 'One of those truly magical theatrical experiences that should very definitely not be missed' - Stage
Shirley Valentine: The story of a put-upon mother and housewife who leaves the drudgery of cooking dinner for her husband, packs her bags and heads for the sun. 'Shirley is the star of her own monodrama, her gabbing made theatrical in a stream of stories and impersonations that are rooted in essential loneliness and reaction against domestic frustration . . . memorable and joyous' - Independent
John, Paul, George, Ringo . . . and Bert: Russell's first major hit, a musical about the Beatles, won the Evening Standard and London Critics' awards for Best New Musical of 1974. 'Why has no-one done it before? Perhaps only a scouser like Willy Russell could have the self-confidence to tackle Liverpool's great phenomenon . . . it's funny, incisive, well-acted and makes its points without any arty philosophising' - Time Out.
Willy Russell Plays: 2 features an introduction from the playwright.
'Combines comedy with acrid truth in the style Willy Russell has made unmistakably his own ... and hits off brilliantly the herd instinct driving both sexes onward and bedward' Daily Telegraph
'Firmly in the centre of the playwright's best achievements: lively, coarse, well-organised, truthful and very funny' Financial Times
Breezeblock Park is set on a northern council estate and takes a look at the suffocating effect of possessions and possessiveness: "Trenchantly observed...hilarious, upsetting and somewhat seditious." (Variety); Our Day Out is about a school coach trip, an exuberant celebration of the joys and agonies of growing up - "a Dickensian fairytale...I have rarely seen a show that combined such warmth and such bleakness."(The Times); Stags and Hens "takes place in the gents and Ladies loos of a tacky Liverpool club, where Dave and Linda have decided, unbeknownst to each other to hold their stag and hen parties...a bleakly funny and perceptive study of working-class misogyny, puritanism and waste" (Guardian); Educating Rita: "one way of describing Educating Rita would be to say that it was about the meaning of education...another would be to say that it was about the meaning of life. A third, that it is a cross between Pygmalion and Lucky Jim. A fourth, that it is simply a marvellous play, painfully funny and passionately serious: a hilarious social documentary; a fairy-tale with a quizzical, half-happy ending." (Sunday Times)