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Calendar Girls (Aberdeen)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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Based on real events Calendar Girls is a story that many people can identify with cancer seems to touch everyone’s life in some way. Calendar Girls follows some Woman's Institute members who have to deal with the death of a husband in their group. John suffered from leukaemia and although he received chemotherapy he could not fight it off. So starts a mission to replace an uncomfortable settee in the Relatives Room at the hospital.

Continuing with the normal WI charity fundraising methods the ladies set forth with their annual calendar, but this year they decide to replace the usual local Yorkshire scenes with something they know sells - flesh! After all John always said of Yorkshire women “that the last phase is always the most glorious”.

The stage show was written by Tim Firth and is directed by Roger Haines - and they are obviously a great team. Much like the amazing line up of ladies in the cast, or indeed in the original calendar.

There’s the larger than life Chris, played by Elaine C. Smith; the stunning blonde Jennifer Ellison as Celia; loveable Ruth, played by Rachel Lumberg; Denise Black is the musical Cora; with Jean Boht as wacky Jessie and of course the sensitive widow Annie portrayed beautifully by Julia Hills.

The man at the core of the story is played fantastically by Joe McGann who makes it easy to see how John would have inspired such love and dedication.

The theme of loss runs through the play and dry eyes were rare as the curtain fell but there are a lot of laughs along the way. The photo shoot for the calendar itself is hilarious, and very cleverly produced. As is the entire production. A simple set transforms seamlessly from church hall to Yorkshire hillside and the story can proceed unhindered by set changes or the usual distraction of fumbling in the dark.

A truly inspiring story, perfectly reproduced on stage, this really is a must see.



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