Calendar Girls at the Bournemouth Pavilion

Tuesday night I was kindly given the chance to watch stage performance of Calendar Girls, by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, on it’s UK tour. Based on the 2003 film, Calendar Girls tells the incredible true story of a group of Yorkshire women, part of the local WI (women’s institute) who, against all odds, raise money by posing for a nude calendar.

I’ll be honest and say that I’ve never seen the film, not yet at least, now I’ve seen the show I’m eager to watch the film. I was however keen to watch the show after hearing lots of great things about the film, and it felt close to home, as my Aunty and Nan are actually part of WI groups.

Without giving too much away, the plot center’s around the lives of these WI goers, when one unfortunate day, the lead character Annie Clarke finds out her dearly devoted husband John has got cancer. After many days and hours sat in an uncomfortable family waiting room at the local hospital, Mr Clarke loses his battle with cancer.

Whilst Annie is mourning for her husband, best friend Chris comes up with the idea of raising enough money to buy a new sofa (settee) for family waiting room, at the hospital where John had his treatment. The plan to raise the money by posing for and creating a WI themed nude calendar.

I was so surprised to see so many familiar faces on stage and the cast is simply phenomenal. The lead role of Annie is played by Sarah Jane Buckley (of Blood Brothers and Hollyoaks), Sarah conveys the character of Annie so well, her emotion is so convincing and you feel like you’re really on this journey with her.

The other leading ladies includes Julia Hills as Ruth, Judy Holt as Marie and Lisa Maxwell as Celia. It was Cora who really stole the show for me, played by (Casualty and Coronation Street’s) Sue Devaney, I just fell in love with her character, of this petite, loud, quirky single mother, who could belt out a note or two.

The music and songs in the musical are fantastic, they are catchy and flow so well throughout the story line.

What else can I say, Calendar Girls is a must see, it will make you cry with laughter and cry with emotion, it is moving and empowering, heart felt and silly. If I had the chance I would absolutely see this show again.

A big thank you to BH Live Tickets for kindly gifting these tickets and to the Bournemouth Pavilion for having me.

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