First production by the Royal Shakespeare Company in London in 1980, this comedy was later transferred to the Piccadilly Theatre where it won three major awards from the critics. It was one of the longest running plays in London`s recent theatrical history and was turned into an award winning film starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters.
Rita, a young hairdresser, registers for a literature course offered by the Open University because she wants to enrich and increase her possibilities in life. During her tutorials, she becomes a different person, gradually liberating herself from the limitations of her working class background, family and marriage. She exchanges the small talk of the hair salon for the student chatter about art and literature. Her teacher Frank, like Professor Higgins in Bernard Shaw’s PYGMALION, spends months educating Rita and, in a way, falls in love with her; but he is finally shocked by the academic Frankenstein he has created. For Rita has mastered all the terminology for passing exams, but, in the process, has lost the innocence, the spontaneity and the dependence on him that so attracted Frank to her in the first place. Although its background is education, the play is, at its core, an amusing look at the stundent-teacher relationship – its pains as well as its joys.