Thursday, 24 March 2011

Calendar Girls (Sunderland Empire, Sunderland UK)

Video review:

I can’t even begin to imagine the emotional struggle one is faced with when they, or their loved ones, are battling with a horrific, life-threatening disease. Each day, more and more people are affected by the heartache it brings. Often it may seem like there is no end, no cure, no way out. However, there are many who are determined to not give up, trying to put a stop to diseases such as Leukaemia, and a prime example of this comes in the form of the Calendar Girls.

Calendar Girls tells the true story of a group of women who set about putting together a calendar: nude images, poses carefully arranged with props, to help raise money and awareness for the fight against blood cancers. After a successful run in London’s West End, the Tim Firth production is now embarking upon a tour across the UK.

While the story is based on an unfortunate event, you will find that it is woven throughout with tasteful humour. This helps capture the spirit which many sufferers often hang on, living each day with as much love and joy as possible. A lot of the hilarity comes from unexpected lines and outrageous tones, however you will also
find a few entertaining surprises along the way thanks to the (lack of) costumes!

Of course, there are the more serious scenes throughout, making sure we do not forget what the calendar, and the production, is really about. You can guarantee that on several occasions you will reach for your tissues to dab away at the tears.
The cast is marvellous; everybody is exceptional but there are a few performances in particular which stand out.: Lynda Bellingham gave an outstanding performance as Chris, a caring and supportive woman who has an incredible level of determination. The most beautiful voice filled the room as Bernie Nolan sang at appropriate moments throughout the evening, adding her own style to the character of Cora. Lisa Riley gave us a lovable character with Ruth, a sweet woman who always tries to do the right thing whilst adding an enormous amount of entertainment.

Calendar Girls is a massively moving production.

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