Written by Tim Firth, 'Calendar Girls' was first a movie and then adapted for the stage. It won the 'What's On Stage' Award for Best New Comedy 2010.

When Annie's husband John dies of leukaemia, she and best friend Chris resolve to raise money for a new settee in the local hospital waiting room. They manage to persuade four fellow WI members to pose nude with them for an "alternative" calendar, with a little help from hospital porter and amateur photographer Lawrence. The news of the women's charitable venture spreads like wildfire, and hordes of press soon descend on the small village of Knapeley in the Yorkshire Dales. The calendar is a success, but Chris and Annie's friendship is put to the test under the strain of their new-found fame. Based on the true story of eleven WI members who posed nude for a calendar to raise money for the Leukaemia Research Fund, Calendar Girls opened at the Chichester Festival Theatre and has since become the fastest selling play in British theatre history.

The Cast includes: Maxine Grubel, Shelley Hampton, Jo St Clair, Rhonda Grill, Deb Walsh, Lindy LeCornu, Lesley Reed, Louisa Norman, Andrew Horwood.

Directed by: Brian Knott

Cast

What the reviewers said...

Reviews

A stellar cast bring to life the heart-warming story of Calendar Girls
Director Brian Knott has assembled a stellar cast to bring the heart-warming story of Calendar Girls to life for St Jude’s Players. Based on a true story, it follows the attempts of six mature lasses from the Women’s Institute in the North of England, who, after experiencing loss, find themselves raising money for a settee in a cancer ward at the nearby hospital.Based on the 2003 film of the same name, playwright Tim Firth does his best to capture the charm and humour in his adapted script. Given that the play is set predominantly in a church hall, the setting at St Jude’s captures the right ambience. The stage is adorned with a piano and a few randomly placed chairs. A gathering place for the Yorkshire W.I., the set should have worked, but the slanting floor upstage looked clumsy and failed to deliver the right affect.Wonderful characterisations are delivered by all actors, each with their own quirk. Chris (Shelley Hampton) propels the idea for the Calendar and makes it a reality. Hampton’s playful portrayal is a delight. Joanne St Clair (Annie) does a wonderful job in her layered performance, as does Lesley Reed* in her turn as acrimonious Jessie. Maxine Grubel as Celia is deliciously naughty and Heather Riley brings a sweetness to her role as repressed Ruth. Rounding out the calendar girls is Cora (Deb Walsh), a vicar’s daughter who longs to be reunited with her own daughter.Act one ends with the side-splitting shooting of the calendar. It is without a doubt the highlight of the play and it is hard to see how the play can progress to equal such hilarity. Look out for the sublime reaction from Lindy LeCornu at the end of act one; her comic timing as uptight Marie is glorious.Act two concentrates on the girls’ unexpected popularity after the success of the calendar. It touches on human emotion and the effect their actions have had on people the world over. The reading of mail from admirers is sentimental in its delivery and captures the bond of friendship beautifully.It would be remiss of me to forget the male actors in this production for they all did a fine job. Andrew Horwood plays Annie’s ailing husband John and tugs at the heart strings. Despite his illness, John’s wry sense of humour is welcomed. Lindsay Dunn brings an energy to the stage as Chris’s husband Rod and Patrick Gibson does well to play two roles.I am in awe of anyone who gets their kit off in the name of art, but when it is for such a worthwhile cause who can argue.This show delivers in spades.Kerry Cooper http://www.stagewhispers.com.au/reviews/calendar-girls-3