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A Heartwarming Triumph of Friendship

Calendar Girls - The musical


Written by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth

Directed by Jonathan O'Boyle

Review by David Bithell for A View To A Kiln

Photo credit by Alex Harvey Brown



We went along to the Regent Theatre, Hanley to watch Calendar Girls- The musical. With music by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, you know the songs were going to heartfelt and melodic, and they didnt disappoint.


Based on the true story of the Women's Institute members in Yorkshire, Calendar Girls takes the audience on an emotional journey from laughter to tears and back again. The play follows a group of women who, inspired by a tragic event, come up with a bold idea to create a nude calendar to raise money for a local hospital, well a sofa in the patient's family room to be precise. As they shed their inhibitions and their clothes, they rediscover their confidence, strength, and the importance of supporting one another through thick and thin.



The cast of Calendar Girls deserves praise for their outstanding performances. Each actor brings their character to life with depth and authenticity, allowing the audience to connect with their struggles, triumphs, and ultimately, their bond of friendship. From the witty comic timing to the heartfelt moments of vulnerability, the chemistry between the cast members is evident and enhances the overall experience. Amy Robbins as Chris, Tanya Franks as Annie, Maureen Nolan as Ruth, Lyn Paul as Jessie, Paula Tappenden as Marie, Marti Webb as Celia, Honeysuckle Weeks as Cora were all equally amazing and bought each characture to life. With fantastic support from Graham MacDuff as Rod and last but not least Colin R Campbell as John, even though we didn't see him for long (sorry spoiler alert), completed the impressive lineup.


The production team should also be commended for their exceptional work on stage design and lighting. The stage was fantastic and transformed from the WI hall to the hospital waiting room with ease and panache.



The overarching theme of Calendar Girls is empowerment and the celebration of women. It addresses important issues such as loss, body positivity, and self-acceptance with grace and sensitivity. Through the power of humor and unwavering support, the play encourages viewers to embrace their individuality and find strength in times of adversity. It serves as a reminder that friendships can be a lifeline during challenging times.


While Calendar Girls may not offer groundbreaking narrative twists, it is the genuine heart of the story that shines through. The play celebrates the extraordinary courage and determination of ordinary women, reinforcing the idea that anyone, regardless of age, can make a profound impact on those around them.



In conclusion, Calendar Girls at the Regent Theatre is an uplifting production that leaves a lasting impression. With its wonderful performances, touching story, and powerful messages, it is a beautiful tribute to the enduring power of friendship. Whether you're a fan of the original film or completely new to the story, this play is a must-see for anyone seeking an evening filled with heartfelt laughter, tears, and inspiration.



Featuring a talented cast, a well-crafted script, and a story that celebrates friendship, courage, and the power of determination, this production is one that will not disappoint.


Calendar Girls - The musical is at the Regent Theatre, Hanley until Saturday 18th November 2023.




In loving memory of Bill Kenwright




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