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Calendar Girls (Wolverhampton)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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With a troupe of terrific actresses and a story that connects with pretty much the entire nation, it’s no wonder Calendar Girls is still packing out theatres two years after its first national tour.

Lesley Joseph and Sue Holderness head up the ensemble as Chris and Annie, a pair of best friends that experience turmoil  after the loss of Annie’s husband (John Bruce McGregor) to cancer. In his honour, they suggest to their W.I. that the best way to raise money for a new sofa in the relatives room at Skipton General, they pose nude (not naked), for their edition of next year’s calendar.

Both ladies are terrific in their respective roles. Joseph is strong and independent, forceful but caring and her comedic presence receives a warm welcome from the audience. Annie’s character is of a more vulnerable and soft nature which Holderness makes believable.

With help from Ruth (Kacey Ainsworth), Cora (Deena Payne), Jessie (Helen Fraser), Celia (Kathryn Rooney) and photographer Lawrence (Kevin Scare), they produce their calendar and raise enough funds for much more than a replacement sofa, much to the dismay of W.I. Chairwoman, Marie (Ruth Madoc). Each characters dimensions are explored to their fullness with surprisingly commendable direction from Jack Ryder and an incerdible script from Tim Firth.

Calendar Girls plays at Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre through Saturday November 17.

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