Calendar Girls by Tim Firth
Based on the Miramax film ‘Calendar Girls’ Written by Juliette Towhidi and Tim Firth
The New Theatre, Cardiff Monday 2 – Saturday 7 May 2011 (and touring)
Info at: www.seecalendargirls.com
Review: Sara Stanford 4 May, New Theatre, Cardiff
Gripping and hilarious story of cancer and courage.
A poignant comedy tackling terrifying subject matter, Calendar Girls is sensitive, captivating and down-right hilarious! Based on real events, this inspirational story of cancer and courage makes the transition from screen to stage effortlessly.
Calendar Girls is the result of a group of mature Yorkshire women from the WI (Women’s Institute) who, following the premature loss of Annie’s (Sue Holderness) husband to leukaemia, decide to produce a charity calendar in aid of Leukaemia Research. But this is not any old calendar – this is a nude calendar… and they are the models!
With a ‘fun yet discreet’ concept in mind, the ladies hire amateur photographer Lawrence (Kevin Sacre) who assists in producing tasteful shots of the women taking part in everyday activities such as knitting and playing the piano… whilst completely starkers. Overcoming strong opposition and disapproval, the calendar is finally permitted for sale by the national congress of the Women’s Institute. Needless to say, the calendar was a sell-out whopping success!
The all star cast includes the likes of Eastenders’ Kacey Ainsworth, Strictly Come Dancing’s Camilla Dallerup, and Only Fools and Horses’, Susan Bovell. Lesley Joseph, best known for her role as Dorien Green in Birds of a Feather, steals the show with her energetic portrayal of the caring yet hilarious character Chris. The infamous photography-shoot scene had me on the edge of my seat with each humorous and carefully positioned nude pose better than the last!
Particularly strong is a real sense of comradeship between the audience (which is unsurprisingly female-dominated) and the petrified Yorkshire ladies’ as they prepare to strip off.
Tim Firth’s adaptation strikes the balance between authenticity and originality magnificently! Avoiding direct comparisons with the box office hit, this stage production of Calendar Girls is worthy of acclaim in its own right. Intelligent, witty and moving – what more could you possibly want?
Director: Jack Ryder.