ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

CALENDAR GIRLS the MUSICAL Director: Mark Rosenthal Musical Directors: Nick Sanders & Gemma Price Choreographer: Helen Wilkinson PADOS Theatre Group From film to play, and now this true story of the Yorkshire WI ladies nude calendar is retold as a musical, with music by Gary Barlow of Take That fame. The leap from main stream music to musical theatre did not have the same outcome as Elton John’s theatrical works. This joyful and moving story hasn’t lost any of the depth and substance of the 2009 play. All the winning punch lines are included guaranteeing shrieks of laughter. Changing the famous photo shoot to the end of act 2 made more sense giving a far better dramatic climax. There is also a strong sub-plot between the children of the families. A peppering of new characters and an ensemble made this much-loved story different, but it never lost sight of the original concept. The creative team assemble an experienced cast of all ages to deliver the richly drawn characters. Dramatically and vocally they captured all the characteristic of self doubt, low-self esteem and shyness of those Yorkshire women. There was a composite set that had moveable parts that seamlessly changed into the next scene allowing the action to flow. Lighting and sound had a complicated cue plot which was flawlessly achieved. Character presentation was good adding to the dramatic picture. The ensemble work was well executed supporting and increasing the truth of the storytelling. There was a running gag; each time it was said “let’s have a drink” there entered Tea (Angela Mayall), and Coffee (Ann-Marie Beck), with their trolley. They carried it off with aplomb and when they joined in the calendar photo shoot they received a well rewarded response. Cameo roles of Brenda Hulse, Lady Cravenshire, and Lawrence were taken by Lisa Lott, Susan Glover, and Thomas Lloyd.