“They expect too much. They walk into the hairdressers and expect to walk out an hour later as a different person. I tell them, I’m just a hairdresser, not a plastic surgeon. See, most of them, that’s why they come to the hairdressers - because they want to be changed. But if you wanna change you have to do it from the inside don’t you? Know like I’m doin’....tryin’ to do. Do you think I will? Think I’ll be able to do it?”
It’s 1980, and Susan ‘Rita’ White has decided it’s time for a change.
A wise-cracking, no-nonsense hairdresser from the working-class streets of Belfast, Rita is tired of her job, her prospects, her husband, her life. She wants to be the sort of woman who knows the difference between Shaw’s Bridge and George Bernard Shaw, and so enrolls in an Open University course in English Literature where she meets her tutor Frank - a lecturer from North Down who teaches at Queen’s - and begins her journey of self-discovery.
Frank has his problems too. Divorced, an alcoholic, and sick to the back teeth of the pretensions of academic life, Frank finds Rita’s enthusiasm for learning and down-to-earth attitude refreshing. Frank and Rita make an unlikely pair, but could they really show each other a way to a better future?
Following its record-breaking run in 2016, this reimagined production of Willy Russell’s award-winning comedy returns to the Lyric with its original cast of Michael James Ford and Kerri Quinn, before embarking on an Irish tour.