When you have a one-woman show you must have an actress who grabs your attention and never lets you go. DeeDee Rescher does that as she gloriously plays “Shirley Valentine” at the Falcon Theatre. Rescher captivates from the moment she walks on stage to unload her groceries and her heart as she talks to the kitchen wall. The audience actually becomes that sounding board/wall that Shirley confides in about her unfulfilled dreams and her hope someday to “sip wine in a country where the grapes were grown.”
The chatty British housewife pours herself several glasses of wine while actually making an appealing egg and chips dinner on stage; the audience/wall is privy to her humorous and poignant stories about the people in her life. Through her storytelling skills, Rescher fills the stage with an unseen supporting cast of characters. Her school mates, teachers, friends, two grown children, and her unappreciative husband are described so vividly you expect them to come out and take a bow at the end of the show.
The play is a theatrical Valentine that women should give themselves as a gift. Men should see it if they ever hope to understand women. The play written by Willy Russell, and artfully directed by Andrew Barnicle, focuses on Shirley’s desire to join her best friend on a trip to Greece. Act Two takes place on a Greek Island where Shirley’s self-discovery continues.
Set and costume designer Bruce Goodrich created Shirley’s comfy kitchen as well as the sunny Greek Isle, with the help of lighting designer Jeremy Pivnick.
Shirley Valentine is at the Falcon Theatre in Toluca Lake now through March 3. Call the box office at (818) 955-8101, or go to FalconTheatre.com.