Shirley Valentine at the Jungle Theater

A reminder that it’s never too late to change your life.

The tale of a housewife in Liverpool during the 1980s, Shirley Valentine, the Jungle Theater’s latest production, exudes sincerity and invokes introspection about what it means to truly live—or not live—life. Starring Cheryl Willis, a regular at Twin Cities theaters, the one-woman, two-hour show follows the character of Shirley as she goes from being Shirley Bradshaw, dedicated wife and mother, to rediscovering who she was before marriage: Shirley Valentine, her braver, more confident self.

The script, written by Willy Russell and directed by Bain Boehlke, clips along at a lively pace and is peppered with witty one-liners and laugh-out-loud moments (enhanced by Willis’s impressive body language, expressions, and comedic timing). But beneath the humor lies a powerful message: Why do we get so much unused life? That is the question that ultimately propels Shirley out of her daily routine of playing housewife to her inattentive husband and confiding in her kitchen wall, to accepting her friend’s offer to go on a two-week vacation to Greece.

Although guilt and fear initially hold her back, once she’s there, those fears are erased and the guilt is pushed aside by something Shirley forgot existed: contentment. It’s at that moment that all questions of unused life disappear, and Shirley Bradshaw is forever replaced by bold, brave, and delightfully blunt Shirley Valentine.

Shirley Valentine
Through March 20, 2011

Jungle Theater
2951 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls., 612-822-7063