Venue: Grand Opera House, York
Director: Robert Readman
Producer: Danny Garth
Rating: Three Stars
Tim Firth’s heart-warming adaptation of the famous film Calendar Girls, which itself is based on an uplifting and inspiring true story, leaves the audience with a new found belief in humanity. An extraordinary tale of friendship and strength, the emotions evoked blossom and follow the metaphorical sunflower that is omnipresent throughout the play. Refreshingly there were no deeper messages to be guessed at, simply a message of unity and community that was intertwined with easy, tangible humour.
The beginning was stilted and the script jumped around slightly causing confusion, however the acting became more fluid as the cast warmed up. The nudity scene epitomised all the play’s best features; it was handled admirably, with smooth changes and powerful acting that demonstrated the chemistry between the women. However as an adaptation, it felt like the strong presence of humour sometimes overshadowed the deeper emotions that were essential to the film’s success, and should have been portrayed more openly.
The dynamic of the women far surpassed that of the few male characters, in accordance with the film, and the women who played Kris and Marie captured the entertainingly polar-opposite attributes of their roles extremely well. The set was busy and there was a huge variation of mediocre special effects used, however, in the light-hearted context of the story they were successful in creating slapstick moments for the audience to enjoy.
The plot emotionally paralleled the change of seasons, the end climaxing on a summer high. The beautiful end scene reinforces the positive messages spread throughout and resonates with the commencing tone, that “the last phase of the flower is the most glorious”. A feel-good, accessible story, whose message will strike a chord with all.