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Educating Rita crackles 

Norwood shines in a star-making role

click to enlarge A two-hander is better than one
  • A two-hander is better than one

The stage almost crackles with energy in the opening scenes of Educating Rita. When the titular character (Andrea Lee Norwood) bursts into the sanctuary of the brilliant but boozy professor Frank (Todd Duckworth), it's as if a fresh wind has blown in. She prances and questions, provokes and teases. It's a star-making role played by a local star. The play follows the relationship of the working-class girl and the disillusioned academic as her world opens and changes. In a less well-written, more predictable play, it would be a quid pro quo relationship where Frank's life was also changed for the better. But the play is emotionally satisfying precisely because there will be no happily ever after for Frank. Pamela Halstead's brisk direction keeps the play moving along through the numerous scenes and Janet MacLellan's costumes mirror the story of Rita's growth.

To August 18, Al Whittle Theatre, 450 Main Street, Wolfville, $15-$30, valleysummertheatre.com

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