REVIEW: Calendar Girls @ Empire Theatre 21/11/11

The hugely sucessful story of the Alternative WI calendar returned to the Empire stage for the second time in just over twelve months this week. Rich Denton joined the packed out Empire audience..

The conversation at the interval went something along the lines of ‘Have you seen Calendar Girls before?’, ‘No’ I replied. ‘Wow, good to meet someone who hasn’t tonight’. It is a measure of the show’s popularity that a large proportion of the audience are back in their seats tonight only a year since the touring production last paid a visit.

I do remember watching the movie, no doubt full of Christmas pudding and Baileys, so I was familiar with the tale of the ‘Jam and Jerusalem’ WI ladies from a small Yorkshire village, who having been rocked by the death of one of the members husbands took up a challenge to produce a Naked (or should that be Nude) calendar in aid of Leukaemia and Lymphoma research. The calendar originally printed in a run of only 3,000 became a Worldwide sensation and has since raised over £3million for the charity.

The stage adaptation of Tim Firth’s film has enjoyed phenominal success with a year long run in the West End and becoming the most successful play to ever tour the UK, grossing more at the box office than the film itself.

It’s no surprise with a star studded cast including Lynda Bellingham, Rula Lenska, Jan Harvey and Liverpool’s own Jennifer Ellison providing comedy and poinincy in equal measure. There are tears of joy and those of sadness as you cannot fail to be touched by the beautifully written story.

Calendar Girls runs at the Empire Theatre until Sat 26th November BUY TICKETS

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