Calendar Girls The Musical is a Sheffield smash
Calendar Girls the Musical, Lyceum Theatre
20 years ago this week, the women of a North Yorkshire WI came up with the idea of a nude calendar to raise money for charity - writes Alan Powell.
It followed the tragic death from cancer of the husband of one of the members.
So on the opening night of Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s version of the story in Sheffield this week there were two standing ovations. One for members of the brilliant ensemble who brought the story so vividly to life; and one for members of the original calendar girls who were introduced on stage to mark the remarkable anniversary.
So far, their daring and ground- breaking deed has raised more than £5m.
Women of all ages, shapes and sizes taking off their clothes proves to be an empowering act of defiance and the joy in the audience of predominantly women was palpable as they cheered and cried.
The script is as intelligent as it is amusing with the whole story told with a sensitivity that never strays into the sentimental. That goes for the narrative story-telling songs too.
Any show which starts with an anthem called Yorkshire is going to be a hit in Sheffield but it was showstoppers like Rebecca Storm’s Sunflower; Anna-Jane Casey’s Kilimanjaro and Sara Crowe’s My Russian Friend and I that really brought the house down.
Fern Britton’s haughty WI chair and Denise Welch’s enhanced trolley dolly added to the fun. And all done in the best possible taste.
Calendar Girls The Musical will run in Sheffield from April 2 to April 13. Visit sheffieldtheatres.co.uk for more details and to book tickets.