From the 23rd-28th April on its final UK Tour, Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre proudly presents the touching true story of the Yorkshire Calendar Girls. The performance is excellently directed by Jack Ryder, who previously starred in the BBC soap EastEnders and whose credits include the short film, Act of Memory. The story is brilliantly performed by an accomplished cast including Sue Holderness, Ruth Madoc and John Labanowski. The formidable nature of this production, when accompanied with a full house makes for an extraordinary night of theatre.
In 1998, in an ordinary Yorkshire Womens' Institute where a group of ladies would regularly meet, often under particularly mundane circumstances, they received some terrible news. Annie’s husband John had been diagnosed with a severe case of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and in the short time of only 5 months he loses his battle with the disease. In the memory of John the women decide on a fundraiser which is to change the course of their lives. A global phenomenon erupts and their target is obliterated due to the success of their tastefully nude calendar. The inspirational story of a group of friends who stride together in the face of adversity reminds us that that no matter how hard life may seem to be, friendship and goodness will triumph.
A heart-warming tale of love, friendship and loss is re-enacted by the finest of casts. Notable performances come from Linda Bellingham (Chris) and June Watson (Jessie) whose talent for the stage is absolutely unquestionable. The cast depicted a spectrum of raw emotion which certainly evoked the same response from the audience. Both laughter and tears resonated through the auditorium as all were drawn into the story.
Calendar Girls, to which many of us can relate in one form or another, is a magnificent display of the traditional British community. The sense of camaraderie is reflected in both the success of the play, film and story and most notably in the £3,000,000 it has raised for the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Trust. This play is not one to be missed.