Calendar Girls | Theatre Review

By Rachel Nurse

Based on a true story of the one and only Calendar Girls- Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s award-winning production brings us a wonderful musical comedy. Most of the audience would have been familiar with the back story of the women from Yorkshire Women’s Institute who’s the tale has been in the public eye since 1999. These fantastic women wanted to release an ‘alternative’ calendar as a fundraiser John Baker who was a beloved husband of their own whom was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

The calendar has raised more than five million and they only set out to raise five hundred for a sofa to put in the waiting room at Skipton hospital. The story is all about their lives in their unashamedly British Yorkshire village, how it happened, how it affected their spouses and children and how a group of normal women accomplished something extraordinary. The show effortlessly captures the country’s tongue-in-check sense of wit and community.

These women strip to conquer. The charm of the story brings out the sheer empowering women and togetherness of the characters. When the depressed Ruth explores her reliance with her Russian friend vodka, it was as if every woman had been given her own self-exploratory solo, which paid off in the end as the drink suppressed her fears of going in the nude. The message that women should love themselves and support each other was heart-warming. The plot is well-paced and the themes of marriage, cancer and friendship is the realism which strengthens the show making it more entrancing.  

Each woman had to overcome some personal vendetta whether it was feeling ‘too old’ strip or she’d be showing a ‘bad example’ to her son they defy their worries with knowing that they are doing what they’re doing for a great cause and that they should be happy with the skin in their in.

When leaving the show, I overheard a group of elderly women talking about how they wanted to go on the stage and take their bras off with the crew. The show was inspiring and I bet you no body in the audience had a bad word to say about the musical, the cast or the production. The performance was absolutely flawless.

Take a break from exam revision and go and see Calendar Girls. You’ll be smiling and laughing for days after seeing the show. After Cardiff the tour will also visit Belfast, Birmingham, Glasgow, Nottingham, Bristol, Plymouth, Eastbourne, Bournemouth, Wolverhampton, Northampton, Blackpool, Ipswich and Chester, accordingly if you can’t go this week they’ll be a chance to see the show elsewhere. So, get your tickets, you won’t regret it! Calendar Girls tickets would a perfect birthday present for any mother, grandmother, sister or friend.