cal cast

Sarah Jane Buckley, (left), Lisa Maxwell, Rebecca Storm, Ruth Madoc, Judy Holt, Sue Daveney and Julia Hills Picture: John Swannell

Calendar Girls - The Musical

Wolverhampton Grand


Calendar girls is a household name, with a film and play already telling this wonderful story to great success and the musical doesn’t disappoint.

The collaboration between Tim Firth and Gary Barlow has only added to the magic, providing music and lyrics that are genuinely heartfelt and uplifting without distracting us from the original story.

This musical adaptation is firmly set in Yorkshire, with a backdrop of rolling hills and skylines, simple but effective and the opening number “Yorkshire” takes us right into the very bosom (excuse the pun) of Knapely village. Inspired by the true story of a group of women, from Cracoe village, who decide to appear nude for a Women’s Institute calendar in order to raise funds to buy a settee for their local hospital, in memory of one of their husbands. They have, to date, raised almost £5million for blood cancer charity, Bloodwise.

Leading the cast is Sarah Jane Buckley as Annie, she is at the heart of the story, played with great warmth she immediately pulls at our heartstrings with a wonderful musical number called “Scarborough” simply asking the question, “If you’re not here?”

We are with her every step of the way as she picks herself up and deals with the illness and loss of her husband with courage and strength. She is perfectly paired with best friend Chris (Rebecca Storm) who plays the role with gusto, passion and a fire in her belly. Her zest for life is infectious, her endless crazy ideas for W.I activities eventually lead to the suggestion to do the nude calendar.

There is strong support from Sue Devaney as Cora, Julia Hills as Ruth, Pauline Daniels as Jessie, Judy Holt as Marie and Lisa Maxwell as Celia who each give fine individual performances, exuding humour, honesty and naturalness. The famous nude scene is brilliantly and bravely executed, with perfectly placed props and side splitting humour. Together these women are a force of nature, proving that anything is possible if only you “Dare”.

But it’s not all about the girls. There are some lovely performances from the male cast members, particularly Ian Mercer as Rod and Phil Corbitt as John “Clarkey” Clarke. A special mention must go to the three younger members of the cast who bring a youthful spark and energy to the production that is missed in the play. Watch out for Tyler Dobbs (Tommo), Danny Howker (Danny) and Isabel Caswell (Jenny). They have some of the funniest lines in the show and each capture the awkwardness and embarrassment of teenager/parent relationshipsperfectly with excellent comic timing and delivery. They are a joy to watch and completely believable in their roles.

Calendar Girls the musical has it all, poignancy, comedy and a heart-warming soundtrack. This is a glimpse into the lives of real people, their friendships, relationships and coming together as a community.

Don’t miss out on this joyful and empowering production. It makes you appreciate what you have, the people you love and most importantly you will leave the theatre walking on air and feeling glad to be alive. To 28-09-19.

Dexter & Emily Whitehead


Ruth Madoc was ill and did not appear on Press night

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