Television actress takes to the stage for influential play

Malvern Gazette: Rebecca Ryan as Jo in A Taste of Honey. Rebecca Ryan as Jo in A Taste of Honey.

AN actress best known for her television roles is looking forward to treading the boards in one of the most influential plays of its generation.

Rebecca Ryan, who starred as Debbie Gallagher in Channel 4's Shameless and Vicki McDonald in the BBC's Waterloo Road, will bring to life Shelagh Delaney’s older than her year’s teenage lead in A Taste of Honey at Malvern Theatres.

Set in Salford in 1959 the play follows 17-year-old Jo who is desperate to break free from her wayward mother, Helen, and the production is also Hull Truck Theatre’s artistic director Mark Babych’s debut for the venue.

Rebecca said: “I’m really happy to be starring in such an archetypal play by an inspirational writer. Being from Manchester this is a role that’s close to home for me and I’m particularly excited to taking this production out on the road with such an illustrious company as Hull Truck Theatre."

Jo’s instinct for survival and pursuit of happiness leads her to fall in love with Jimmy, a sailor on shore leave.

Abandoned by her mother, Jo’s courage is tested yet again when Jimmy returns to sea and she discovers she’s pregnant.

Defiant in the face of convention, Jo moves in with her friend Geoffrey, a young art student, who assumes the role of surrogate father to her unborn child.

As their relationship deepens, Jo discovers that her independent spirit is both her torment and her salvation.

Shelagh Delaney was only 18 when she wrote the play and it burst onto the stage in 1961 in a production that took the West End by storm and later became a classic of British cinema.

Rebecca made her television debut at the age of 15 when she appeared in Emmerdale and made her stage debut at the Royal Court Theatre in the highly acclaimed production Scarborough by Fiona Evans.

A Taste of Honey runs from Tuesday to Saturday, June 17-21 and daily performances take place at 7.30pm, with a 2.30pm matinee on Wednesday and Saturday.

Tickets range from £10.64 to £25.20, including a 12 per cent booking fee.

For more information and tickets, go to malvern-theatres.co.uk or call the box office on 01684 892277.

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