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Monday, June 18, 2018

Calendar Girls. Review by Kathryn Keeble

When Annie (Abi Richardson) loses her partner John (John Voce) to leukaemia, her local Women’s Institute rallies around to raise funds to buy a new settee for the Skipton General Hospital Relatives’ Room, which is in dire need of a facelift.
What starts out as an innocent fundraiser for the local hospital in a small, Yorkshire village, soon grips the nation when the women decide that rather than the usual study of local churchyards, they will pose nude for the annual Women’s Institute calendar.
What follows is a very British, Vicar of Dibley-style comedy. So British, in fact, that Jerusalem is sung at least three times throughout the show.
Calendar Girls does seem a little dated and the jokes overly familiar mainly due to the success of the film it was based on and subsequent stage productions since.
Nevertheless, this Melbourne production of the hit British comedy is moving at times, has lots of laughs and a very good female ensemble cast.
The high point of the show is undoubtedly the photo shoot. Even though the audience knew what was coming, seeing Celia (Tottie Goldsmith) behind strategically placed iced buns, Ruth (Lulu McClatchy) and some cleverly placed jars of marmalade and Jessie’s (Francesca Waters) purposefully placed large balls of wool brought the house down.
There are some areas to be ironed out: a little faster pacing, a bit more rehearsal with which way the on-set door opens and perhaps, less heavy use of a smoke machine.
However, Calendar Girls is funny, heartfelt and feel good.
Performance Details: Until October 7
Venue: Athenaeum Theatre, Collins St, Melbourne
Bookings: Ticketek.com.au
– Review by Kathryn Keeble

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