THEATRE REVIEW: Calendar Girls The Musical – UK Tour, Marlowe Canterbury  

Do not miss this gem of a production! Calendar Girls The Musical is on tour around the UK (currently dates through to August 2019) and will make you laugh and cry in equal measure. The production, based on the true story, the film and the award-winning play by Tim Firth, features musical numbers written by Gary Barlow and, at the time I saw it, the cast included Fern Britton, Sara Crowe and Denise Welsh.

Calendar Girls The Musical is inspired by a true story: a group of women decide to appear nude for a Women’s Institute calendar to raise funds to buy a settee for their local hospital in memory of one of their husbands. The musical comedy shows life in their Yorkshire village, how the calendar happened, the effect on husbands, sons and daughters, and how a group of ordinary ladies achieved something extraordinary.

The musical numbers and inclusion of younger actors in the re-written plot added to the production, with Anna-Jane Casey (Annie) standing out from a star-studded cast. Her grief felt all too real, and her solo numbers the highlights of the night. Ruth Madoc showed great comedic timing in her role as Jessie, the former headmistress.

This may not be on the curriculum, but is a superb example of musical theatre, producing a gamut of emotions, whilst leaving the audience uplifted and is recommended to anyone lucky enough to be able to get tickets.

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Review by John Hopley