Review: Calendar Girls- The Musical @ Sunderland Empire

Image: Karen Dunbar 

If you think that Calendar Girls the musical is all about Chelsea buns and boobs then you are mistaken.

Of course, we all know the true story of the real Calendar Girls. Where a  group of ladies from Yorkshire decide to appear nude for a Women’s Institute calendar in order to raise funds to buy a settee for their local hospital, in memory of one of their husbands.

Created by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, Calendar Girls- The Musical is an empowering production that shows women (and men) that it is the colour of your heart and not the colour of your hair that counts in life.  No matter who you are, what you do or how old you are, you should always do what you want to do- that makes you happy in life.

Playing these amazing, strong WI women are Nikki Gerrard as Marie, Anna- Jane Casey as Annie, Sara Crowe as Ruth, Karen Dunbar as Cora,  Pauline Daniels as Jessie, Rebecca Storm as Chris and Denise Welch as Celia.

I love how each lady has their own loud personality and when they bounce each other, the relationship between all of them is electric and even louder than before. Particularly with Cora and Celia, they are so cheeky and like to test each other’s patience with each other.

LtoR Rebecca Storm, Fern Britton,  Anna-Jane Casey, Sara Crowe, Ruth Madoc, Karen Dunbar & Denise Welch in  CALENDAR GIRLS THE MUSICAL. (C) Matt Crockett.jpg

Image: Karen Dunbar 

The music and songs that Barlow and Firth have created are so catchy and they put a smile on your face. Supported by the cast, the vocals all differ in quality but that does not matter one bit. I was particularly taken aback by Daniels and Storm’s voices. Both in their solo performances, they belted out some bars and projected their amazing voices right to the back of the theatre. I have still not stopped singing Yorkshire, the songs have a feel-good factor.

All that aside, this is a true story and this story has been portrayed with decorum and respect. Especially when we see John (Annie’s Husband) played by Phil Corbitt leave the beautiful Yorkshire scenery, as he walks through his friends and family, over the gate and on to the next life. It was very endearing to watch.

Calendar Girls is not just about the girls or the mature lady. The cast includes young actors- who provide many a giggle in the show. I was in stitches when Danny played by Danny Howker talks about getting pulled and eating waffles at the summer fete.

Calendar Girls  The Musical is an uplifting production that shows how human beings are prepared to bare all when needed.

Calendar Girls in on at the Sunderland Empire till Saturday 23 March 2019.






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