Review of Calendar Girls
at the Congress Theatre
by Laura Sonier.
A PACKED Congress Theatre on a muggy Monday evening, when thoughts might instead turn to a cold G&T in the garden, spoke volumes about how Eastbourne audiences feel about Calendar Girls.
The play by Tim Firth, based on the real events that transpired when a Yorkshire WI decided to bare all in a calendar to raise cash for the local cancer ward after one of the members’ husbands died, has proved immensely popular.
Combining humour and pathos, the play manages to be moving and uplifting (despite some sniffles in the first half from members of the audience).
There are some fine performances, including Sue Holderness as the bereaved Annie, Lesley Joseph as her limelight-loving friend Chris as well as Deena Payne as Cora, Helen Fraser as Jessie, Kathryn Rooney as Celia, Kacey Ainsworth as Ruth and Ruth Madoc as Marie.
But although the ladies had plenty to get their teeth into, some of the comedy in the first half was a little broad and the changes in dramatic tone, from emotive to comic and back again, were a little clunky.
The comedy should flow from the characters and the script - some of the more exuberant air-punching and eye-rolling weren’t entirely necessary.
However, the cast received a warm reception from the audience, who clearly have an appetite for Calendar Girls.
The show is on until Saturday night, with Friday and Saturday evening performances at 7.30pm and a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets cost from £14.50-£26.50, call 412000.