girls cast

Calendar Girls - the Musical

Birmingham Hippodrome


Tim Firth’s film Calendar Girls and highly successful stage play of the same title have long been audience favourites and, due to the popularity, most people are more than familiar with the true story of the women from the WI who made a nude calendar for charity.

So, when Firth teamed up with his friend of almost 30 years Gary Barlow to make Calendar Girls the Musical, there was much speculation as to whether the format would work.

It does. |The transference from play to musical is genius, bringing a new dimension and freshness to the story. The collaboration has resulted in a thoroughly joyous and entertaining production. 

The book has been modernised and updated, characters added and along with the generous portions of emotion and sentiment, there are extra helpings of fun and humour.

The music and songs are catchy and somehow recognisable, even when hearing them for the first time, which is always a winning formula for a new musical. When the audience go out humming the tunes then it’s surely a mark of success. Be warned you’ll probably want to rush out and buy the soundtrack.

The creative team have certainly excelled. Oliver Fenwick’s lighting design perfectly complements Robert Jones’s stage set which beautifully depicts the rolling Yorkshire Dales and Fells, complete with a dry stone wall and a working gate.

The scene changes are masterfully and smoothly carried out by cast members ensuring flow and continuity without distracting from the action. Movement director Lucy Hind is to be commended for this. The props department have pulled out the stops too, with a flower festooned maypole, a mountain of 147 scones, numerous cakes and of course those all important buns!

The energy, dynamics and range of emotions that the entire cast bring, shines throughout the show. The vocals are strong and pitch perfect, both in solo and in chorus. Sometimes rousing, sometimes humorous and often emotional resulting in both laughter and tears from the appreciative audience.

Sarah Jane Buckley as Annie, Sue Devaney as Cora, Julia Hills as Ruth, Lesley Joseph as Jessie, Lisa Maxwell as Celia and Rebecca Storm as Chris all deliver equally excellent and brave performances as the WI calendar girls. The chemistry between them is palpable and adds depth to their individual characters.

The teenagers (Tyler Dobbs as Tommo, Isabel Caswell as Jenny and Danny Howker as Danny) are a delightful addition to the piece, bringing another perspective to the storyline along with the opportunity for some new, hilariously funny and perfectly delivered one liners!  

Paced with fun, highs, lows, laugh out loud surprises this feel good musical is a resounding success and well deserving of the huge standing ovation it received at the curtain. To 08-06-19

Rosemary Manjunath and Elizabeth Smith



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