Elain makes a meal of educating Beryl

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FROM Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy to The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, for more than three decades Beryl Reid was a familiar face on cinema and TV screens.

Without a day’s formal theatrical training, she became one of the country’s best loved and most acclaimed actresses.

In A Beryl Full of Life, Love and Laughter – Roll Out The Beryl, at Musselburgh’s Brunton Theatre next week, Elaine Pantling plays the vivacious star as she revisits a career that began on the BBC Radio show Educating Archie, in which Reid played naughty schoolgirl Monica.

It was her Tony award-winning role in The Killing of Sister George - she was also nominated for a Golden Globe - however, that confirmed her acting credentials. A BAFTA for Best Actress on Television followed for her portrayal of Connie Sachs in both Tinker Tailor Solder Spy and Smiley’s People.

Pantling, who also wrote Roll Out The Beryl, brings many of the actress’s most popular characters back to life, including Monica, Marlene from the Midlands and Conception, the Spanish waitress.

Exploring her subject, Pantling discovered that Reid, born in Hereford to Scottish parents, had one paramount aim in life, to love and be loved.

Chaos, comedy and clowning unfold in this one-woman play as Reid, who died aged 77 in 1996, regales audiences with tales of her life and times as she cooks and prepares a meal, live on stage.

A Beryl Full of Life, Love and Laughter – Roll Out The Beryl, Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh, Wednesday, £11.25, 0131-665 2240