Sold out months ago, this show comes with high expectations. Based on the true story of a group of women in a Yorkshire Women’s Institute who bare all to raise money for leukaemia research, Calendar Girls has been phenomenally successful as a film and on the West End.
And it is easy to see why. This gentle comedy would warm the hearts of all of us despite the freezing temperatures outside.
All the cast including Letitia Dean, Lynda Bellingham, Jan Harvey, Judith Baker, Gemma Atkinson and Hannah Waterman are wonderful, radiating a feel-good factor throughout the show. They draw the audience, mainly made up of middle-aged women, into the drama until we all felt like best mates.
But special mention must go to Lynda Bellingham as Chris not only for her energy on stage but also for braving the stage with a few strategically placed florals.
Written by Tim Firth there is plenty of humour in Calendar Girls. The scene where the women are photographed lounging amid marmalade oranges and hiding the essentials with a couple of iced buns are hilarious.
But there is also plenty of pathos. I felt my eyes well up as Annie, played sympathetically but not overly so, by Jan Harvey read out letters from other families who had suffered the agony of losing someone to leukaemia.
At the production I saw the lighting was a bit haphazard but hopefully that will have been righted by now and I didn’t feel that a conflict of interests between Chris and Annie really added to the story.
But apart from these minor quibbles, it is difficult not to like Calendar Girls.
This run may be sold out (returns only) but there are still tickets for when it returns to the Hippodrome on June 28-July 3 so make it a date in your calendar.