A chorus of beautiful songs filled with inspiring, and heart-warming sentiment performed to a packed of centre full of people who couldn’t stop laughing and clapping leading to a final standing ovation in which the cast members clapped back to the audience. This is what you would have witnessed in the Wales Millennium Centre this evening as Calendar Girls- The Musical took to the stage. The first thing that strikes you as the curtain lifts on this Musical miracle was the stunning artwork of the backdrop an image of the Yorkshire Dales under an almost clear blue sky with white streaks, a credit to set/costume designer Robert Jones.
The Calendar Girls is the retelling of the story of a group of women from a Yorkshire local branch of The Women’s Institute, who created a nude calendar to raise money for charity, written by Tim Firth and Gary Barlow, the show captivates hearts by concentrating on the individual lives of these women. The brilliant performances of this cast take our hand and lead us through issues such as cancer, bereavement, raising teenagers, single parents and how living up to societies expectations of what women should be to change the rules of Yorkshire society.
Calendar Girls is best known for its humor and wit being able to keep the audiences laughing all night although this holds true for the current production, we are also taken on an emotional roller coaster to the backdrop of a perfect melody, emotional soft songs combined with big show-stopping numbers that inspire change and individuality. Lisa Maxwell gives a great performance as Celia the air-hostess turn housewife who’s too sexy for the local golf club, with the stunning song ‘I’ve Had A Little Work Done’ and with the wonderful performance of Lesley Joseph as Jessie an retired school teacher who refuses to do as is expected of her as the song ‘What Age Expects’ implies.
The underlying message of how friendship and support can move mountains reflects the Women’s Institute perfectly.
The nudity is tastefully done with humour and minimal contained to two scenes.
Calendar Girls is two and half hours of fun, friendship, and Yorkshire life represented in powerful song.
Calendar Girls is at The Wales Millennium Centre till 11 May 2019
A Review by Melissa Compton