Theatre in Wales

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STANDING OVATION FOR ‘NAKED’ LADIES

Calendar Girls

David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers Ltd , Wales Millennium Centre , April-30-19
Calendar Girls by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers Ltd We are high up in the Yorkshire Dales, realistically created by designer, Robert Jones. John, the catalyst to the story has loved the dales and Yorkshire all his life, he sings the opening number ‘Yorkshire ‘with warmth and strong conviction.

We are quickly brought down to earth when we join the members of the Knapely branch of the Women’s Institute. One of these is John’s wife Annie. The story of this award-winning musical from Gary Barlow and Tim Firth revolves around the fact that John is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Annie is given a captivating and dynamic performance by the warmth inside Sarah Jane Buckley. Her good friend Chris suggests that in John’s memory they purchase a comfortable sofa for the visitors lounge in the hospital where John received his treatment.

Chris is given a very lively and delightful performance by Rebecca Storm. The WI ensemble completed by Sue Devaney, Cora, Julia Hills, Ruth, Judy Holt, Marie, Lesliy Joseph, Jessie, and Lisa Maxwell as Celia are an excellent and very chatty ensemble. Quite clearly they have all known each other for a long time and now John’s sad death has brought them closer together.

Annie has a much bolder idea to commemorate John’s memory and raise a bit of money for the hospital at the same time. – THE CALENDAR GIRLS – She suggest they all strip off and pose for a nude calendar. At first her suggestion is met with almost complete disbelief.

But Annie is a match for all of them. She explains they will be very discreet pictures with tantalising cover-ups. And now the fun starts. Men don’t feature very much in this story. Ian Mercer, Rod, Sebastian Abineri, Colin and Alan Stocks as Denis all give us full embarrassment and strong feelings. In fact they are not at all keen on the idea.

Our ladies have found a photographer, it’s his hobby. In ‘real’ life he works at the hospital. He gets a gentle well observed performance from Derek Elroy.

The audience, consisting manly of Calendar Girl wanna bees, have come for some fun, and they get it.
The posing for the photos is a real hoot with the girls all showing much vital comedy timing and a little more !

Each Month’s pose is met with a hearty round of applause and laughter. The calendar is a big success and raises a lot of money for the hospital.

The show is a big success, with excellent very appropriate music from Steve Parry’s Orchestration.

He joins this dynamic cast at the curtain call. The whole audience is already well into their standing ovation which is well deserved. I was upon my feet with them.

Feel good – you couldn’t feel much better than this!


Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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