With a perfect balance of humour and sentimentality, Calendar Girls is simply unmissable, focusing on female solidarity at its best, with a strong loveable cast.
Somehow, the comedy and heartbreak from the movie seems magnified in the live performance.
The bravado of the ladies – led by perfectly cast Loose Woman Lynda Bellingham – to go “nude and not naked” adds even more hilarity when seeing them strip, some bashfully and others unashamedly, before your eyes.
The story of widow Annie Clarke’s love and loss of husband John to leukaemia is a tale that tugs on the heartstrings.
With a little help from her friends to create a fund-raising calender, it lightens the mood, but there still wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Along the way, there are important lessons on friendship, appreciating every moment you have got and not letting age or shape hold you back.
Part of the success lay in how well the small crew of actors gelled together.
Among them were Bernie Nolan, a cancer survivor herself, and wonderfully acidic Gwen Taylor, playing a long-in-the-tooth teacher put out to pasture, who had all the best and funniest lines of the night.
The true story of the WI Calendar Girls was taken into the hearts of the British public, and this fitting adaptation of their work has rightly done exactly the same.
Calendar Girls continues until Saturday with only a few tickets remaining, but due to popular demand returns to Birmingham Hippodrome for the fourth time from January 31 to February 4, 2011.
Rating * * * *