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Calendar Girls Artwork

All About Theatre three and a Half star review

Calendar Girls the musical is based on the 2003 movie of the same name which was in turn based on a true story. When the musical was first released it was titled the Girls and had its premiere in Leeds and at The Lowry in 2015-2016. After a successful run on the West End in 2017 it was announced that the musical would be going on it's first UK tour in 2018 - 2019 under it's new title Calendar Girls the musical.

Calendar Girls production shot

The musical features music and lyrics by Gary Barlow, book and lyrics by Tim Firth and is directed by Jonathan O' Boyle and tells the true story of a group of women from a small Yorkshire branch of the women's institute. Annie one of the women in the group has a sick husband who eventually dies from Leukaemia, she wants to raise money in order to buy a new sofa for the relative room at the Hospital her husband was treated at. Her friend Chris suggests that in order to make the money they should do something different with the WI's calendar this year and do a naked calendar with all the profit going toward the sofa.

Calendar Girls production shot

As the music for the show was written by Gary Barlow I was expecting it to be quite poppy and catchy however the songs in this are not very memorable. I think the songs are appropriate for the type of show calendar girls is and they help to tell the story and move the story along, if it did have more poppy upbeat songs in it, it would detract from the sadder more emotional moment in the show. Some of the musical numbers I did enjoy were Yorkshire and the heart wrenching song Kilimanjaro which is sung by Annie about dealing with the loss of her husband. I have to say I was disappointed with the vocal performances from the cast as some of them struggled to hit the high notes and I feel they did not do the beautiful songs justice. Having listened to the cast recording after seeing the show I appreciate the music and the songs much more having heard them sung by a different cast.

Calendar Girls production shot

The set designed by Gary McCann was simple but effective, it was a static set which depicted the community hall where the women's Institute would meet for their meetings, it had a high ceiling with what looked like wooden beams (it reminded me a bit of a barn) and it had a little kitchenette area (however I was unable to see this part of the set from my seat). When there were scenes at the hospital some Hospital signs would be lowered down and a sofa was pushed onto the stage. I liked the se i thought it looked quite impressive and worked well for the show.

Calendar Girls production shot

Then we come to the cast and I thought the cast were good there's a few well-known names in there Laurie Brett (EastEnders), Liz Carney (The Full Monty, The Mousetrap), Maureen Nolan (The Nolans, Blood Brothers), Lyn Paul (The New Seekers, Blood Brothers), Helen Pearson (Hollyoaks), Samantha Seager (Coronation Street) and Honeysuckle Weeks (Foyle’s War) and although I thought they all did a brilliant Job with the acting and they all gave believable performances I do think the singing from some of the cast did let the production down a bit.

Calendar Girls production shot

Calendar Girls is such a heartwarming show it's got a lot of heart, it inspires hope, community, coming together and it's such an empowering show. A lot of people might think this is a show more for women but my husband came with me and he really enjoyed it, there's a lot of humour in the show which is what he enjoyed. I enjoy calendar girls it was a good night out at the theatre and I definitely recommend it.

Calendar Girls is on at The Lowry until Saturday 20th January 2024 you can purchase tickets by clicking on the button below.

If you would like more information about the musical and see where it will be touring to please click the button below.

Photo Credit - The Lowry

*Our tickets for this show were kindly gifted in exchange for an honest review


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