Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – until 19 January 2019
Reviewed by Jo Gordon
Based on a true story and film of the same name , Calendar Girls the Musical written by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth has been a touring success story.
Set in the rolling dales of Yorkshire we follow the trials and tribulations encountered by a group of WI ladies and their families. It covers all bases from troublesome teens, relationship breakdowns, friendships, ageing and death of a loved one. With the main focus being on Annie ( Anna-Jane Casey) and the loss of her husband, John, to cancer, much hilarity follows when the group come together to raise funds for a new hospital families room sofa through the means of a naked calendar.
With household names such as Fern Britton, Ruth Madoc and Denise Welch on board it really puts bums on seats. They each portray the real ladies beautifully and the casts comedic timing is next to none. With lots of humorous show tunes such as Celia (Denise Welch) I’ve had a little work done and Annies ( Anna-Jane Casey) heartbreaking Scarborough and Kilimanjaro you are guaranteed to ride an emotional roller-coaster so take tissues!
With a stunningly simple backdrop of green hills and dusky skies you really do feel in the heart of Jam, Cake and Jerusalem country and come away feeling empowered by those ladies ability to bare all to the audience, but not quite enough to feel the need to follow suite!
A definite must see and as a child in the 80’s watching Hi-De-Hi never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d ever utter the words “I saw Ruth Madoc bare her breasts this evening”.