Book & Music: Tim Firth and Gary Barlow
Director: Matt Ryan
Calendar Girls premiered over five years ago and while it’s now in its final months of a UK tour, it remains clear why this beautiful musical continues to delight audiences throughout the country.
Tim Firth and Gary Barlow adapt the film and play into this musical. From the getgo, the range of characters within the community are introduced. This could easily be any small village throughout the country while also keeping its roots firmly in Yorkshire. The characters are relatable and likeable which makes connecting with the characters easy.
Director Matt Ryan paces the production well between scenes of the full company, to far more intimate moments. It’s heartbreaking to see the stage cleared while Sarah Jane Buckley as Annie is left alone, sharing a really intimate moment in the song Very Slightly Almost.
While Ryan doesn’t shy away from the heart-rendering moments, he ensures the piece overall displays that with all storms there’s sunshine afterwards which Olivier Fenwick fully encompasses with the sunshine lighting design that shines on Robert Jones’ set of the Yorkshire dales. The positive energy continues through the musical numbers; from the bright and bold Yorkshire that opens the show, to the wonderful song Dare which is perhaps one of the most memorable and uplifting musical numbers.
The younger members of the cast reflect the brave and youthful nature that’s present throughout the piece. It uses those roles to explore that ‘life is all about coping, fabulously, with terrible mistakes’ which creates a huge level of optimism, positivity and empowerment.
It’s the theme of risk taking, alongside the messages of self-belief and friendship that makes Calendar Girls the Musical the moving, heartwarming, life-affirming musical it is. With its bonny musical numbers, a cast that can make you laugh and cry and an inspirational plot, this warm production will leave you with a tear in your eye while also a spring in your step.
*A complimentary ticket was given in exchange for this review. This value for money rating is based on the ticket price value of £42.50 + £3 Booking Fee. For more info on this value for money rating please visit here: Introducing a new kind of rating