When Annie’s husband John dies of leukaemia, she and best friend Chris resolve to raise money for a new settee in the local hospital waiting room. They manage to persuade four fellow Women’s Institute members, Cora, Celia, Ruth and Jessie, to pose nude with them for an “alternative” calendar, with a little help from hospital porter and amateur photographer Lawrence. The news of the women’s charitable venture spreads like wildfire, and hordes of press soon descend on the small village of Knapeley in the Yorkshire Dales. The calendar is a success, but Chris and Annie’s friendship is put to the test under the strain of their new-found fame.
|Brenda Hulse||Helen Cowan|
|Lady Cravenshire||Maureen Casket|
NODA Review by Kevin Proctor
The Calendar Girls by Tim Firth: A compelling story of hope, determination, friendship and considerably bigger buns! A true story based on a group of WI members in Yorkshire who were the originators of the nude charity calendar idea in the mid 90’s, this daring idea has been copied many times since, but some would say never bettered. The Calendar Girls film grossed more than £60m at the box office worldwide, while the play which Firth adapted from his film script has taken more than £21m in ticket sales alone. Certainly, as far as the Altrincham Garrick’s presentation of this play is concerned, it’s a careful mixture of nimble acting skills and canny casting in this story which, while it deals with the dreaded big ‘C’, is humorous and ultimately uplifting. At the centre of the strong ensemble cast is Beverly Stuart-Cole, who relishes her role as Chris and drives the calendar project with head girl levels of determination, Beverly excelled in her WI conference speech at the beginning of act 2 which received a heart-warming and well deserved applause from the audience. The cast of game actresses worked well as a unit and generated a natural rapport with delightful performances all round radiating a sense of warmth. Annie – the recent widow played by Janet Slade – encourages the ladies to think outside their frocks! Her subtle struggle to remain upbeat through her grief was beautifully portrayed which I imagine could easily be lost amongst Firth’s loftier characters and comic one liners, but, Janet kept us all in line reminding us where the heart of this play truly lies. The photography shoot / nude scene was handled with comic bravado which was portrayed not too dissimilar to a silent comedy routine, milking any discomfort the audience (or even the cast) may have about such unseemly revelations! This, and rightly so, was the plays highlight, the enactment was fulfilling and delivered a mix of emotions from fear to accomplishment, laughter to surprise, undoubtedly the peak to the play as I’m sure was intended during its original creation.
Save Money as a Friend of the Garrick
Find out how to save money, by becoming a Friend of the Garrick for as little as £20 per year.
Becoming a Friend shows your support for the theatre and can also open a whole new world for you.
If you want to get involved as a volunteer, we are always looking for new talent, any age, to work in all areas of the theatre. Whether volunteering on-stage, back-stage, front of house, in wardrobe, props, sound or lighting, or elsewhere, no experience is necessary because you will be given full training by our qualified staff.
We promise you the satisfaction of a job well done that will really surprise you, as well as promising many new friends waiting to meet you. Please pick up an Application Form from the Box Office or write to us at:
AUTUMN/WINTER SEASON 2023/24
Click on our digital brochure below. There is something for everyone!
Our box office and phonelines are open 11am-4pm and 6pm-8.30pm Monday to Friday and 9am-12pm on Saturdays.
Telephone 0161 928 1677 for box office queries, or book online.
Please keep an eye on our website for further updates and join our email mailing list to ensure that you are kept fully up to date.
We look forward to welcoming you.