Praise for Sir Lenny Henry after opening night ‘stumble’
24 June 2015
From the section Entertainment & Arts
Sir Lenny takes over a role played on film by Sir Michael Caine
Sir Lenny Henry’s performance in a revival of Educating Rita has been praised after a shaky start which saw him fluff his lines.
Sir Lenny takes the role of literature professor Frank, who becomes reluctant tutor to a barely educated hairdresser Rita in Willy Russell’s play.
The Mail’s Quentin Letts said the actor told the audience: “I’ve completely gone”, before leaving the stage.
On his return, he “proceeded to perform the rest of the evening with aplomb”.
“The incident, which did not spoil the show at all (in some ways it made it),” he said, “happened half an hour into the first night of Educating Rita”.
He added: “But the audience gobbled it down, forgiving Sir Lenny his first-night nervousness. Put it down as extra drama, on the house. Educating Sir Lenny. He will undoubtedly improve in this part.”
The play, first staged in 1980, originally starred Julie Walters and Mark Kingston before it was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film in 1983, also starring Walters and Sir Michael Caine.
In the Guardian’s three-star review of the new play, Michael Billington called the event, “one of the strangest first nights I can remember”.
Following Sir Lenny’s brief break, he said “with commendable courage, Henry carried on to give a perfectly good performance”.
“In truth, Frank is not the easiest of roles. While Rita grows from a naive Liverpool hairdresser into a buoyantly independent spirit, Frank sinks deeper into a self-pitying alcoholic lethargy.
“But Henry conveyed well Frank’s disillusion with his own unfulfilled poetic career and delicately hinted at the character’s emotional and sexual attachment to his …read more
Source:: BBC Entertainment