Theatre Guild performs Shirley Valentine starting March 20

Audiences can expect plenty of laughs based on the love of living when the Grey Wellington Theatre Guild (GWTG) stages William Russell’s comedy I this month.

When she steps onto the stage to play Shirley, veteran actress Flora Burke will be tak­ing on the role of a lifetime in the one-woman show.

Burke, who has performed in over 20 stage productions since she began acting with the fledgling theatre guild in the mid-1970s, is looking forward to playing the straight-talking Shirley, in a part that allows her to interact heavily with the audience.

“There’s some very funny lines,” said Burke, who has handled heavy line loads in such past GWTG productions as Educating Rita and My Fair Lady.

Shirley Valentine focuses on the life of a middle-aged, working-class housewife, be­fore and after a transforming holiday abroad. Feeling stag­nant and in a rut, she finds herself regularly talking to the wall while preparing her hus­band’s dinner, until the oppor­tu­nity arises for an unplanned vacation abroad. She packs her bags, leaves a note on the kitchen table, and heads off looking for adventure.

Burke, a Mount Forest resi­dent, is a long-time GWTG audi­ence favourite, having per­formed key roles in numerous musicals, comedies and dra­mas. Shirley’s plain-speaking (“Y’ can’t bring logic into this – we’re talking about marriage.”) results in a show that runs the emotional gamut from humour to heartbreak.

Burke’s versatility, experi­ence and dedication to her craft, enable her to convincing­ly handle the role, said director Patrick Smith, who founded the Grey Wellington Theatre Guild in 1973.

Shirley Valentine runs March 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 at 8pm, with a matinee perfor­m­ance set for March 22 at 2pm at the Town Hall Theatre.

Tickets are available for $10 at: Harriston Home Hardware; Garretts’ Hardware, Clifford; Blooms ‘N’ Things, Palmer­ston; Pandora’s Pantry, Listo­wel; Shoppers Drug Mart, Mount Forest; Millennia Books, Hanover; or by calling the GWTG box office at 519 338-2778. The play features some strong language and is not recommended for young children.