What better way to spend a mid week date night than at the Grand Opera House watching a London West End Musical on its opening night in Belfast. That is exactly how we spent our Tuesday evening!
Calendar Girls The Musical, written by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, starring a host of household names including Lesley Joseph, Lisa Maxwell, Sarah Jane Buckley, Sue Devaney, Julia Hills, Judy Holt and Rebecca Storm, is a joyous, empowering and grounded look at relationships, grief and love. Set in a Yorkshire village and based on a true story of members of a Women’s Institute group who pose naked for a calendar to raise funds for a settee for the local hospital after the death of the husband of one of the group’s members, it is both heart breaking and heart warming. To date this charity campaign has raised almost £5million for Bloodwise.
When Colin, played by Sebastian Abineri is diagnosed with cancer the whole village rally round to support him and his wife Annie played by Sarah Jane Buckley. Annie’s best friend Chris played by Rebecca Storm who has a lot of bright ideas comes up with the best one of all when she suggests the ladies of the local Women’s Institute make a nude calendar to raise money for a new settee for the relatives waiting room at the hospital.
The one liners are delivered with pure comic timing leaving the audience laughing throughout and the songs are sung perfectly. Tyler Dobbs, Isabel Caswell and Danny Howker who play the teens in the show to perfection, showing the embarrassment and awkwardness that comes with being a teenager. From the teenage rebellion to the embarrassment of seeing your mum whipping her top off in the middle of the Yorkshire hills how will they get through those important years?
The best part in the show has to be the photo shoot for the calendar, with well-placed props, unabashed nudity left the audience laughing but also feeling immensely proud, with the characters embracing their bodies and rejecting fears of social backlash and self-consciousness.
Ending the show with a well deserved standing ovation. it is a fantastic show that is not to be missed. Calendar Girls is showing at the Grand Opera House until 25th May. Tickets start at just £17.25 (here).
Although the tickets were gifted all views are my own.