The Girls is inspired by the true story of a group of women, who decide to appear nude for a Women’s Institute calendar in order to raise funds to buy a settee for their local hospital, in memory of one of their husbands, and have to date raised almost £5 million for the cancer charity Bloodwise.
This musical comedy shows life in their Yorkshire village, how it happened, the effect on husbands, sons and daughters, and how a group of ordinary women achieved something extraordinary.
I am not a great fan of musical theatre but I loved the film that depicted this true and moving story, Calendar Girls, and the prospect of a rare night out with my daughter was, I admit, a deciding factor accept the invitation to see The Girls at the Phoenix Theatre in London.
One of the facets of theatre that fascinates me is the set. For The Girls a hillside was created with doors, cupboards and drawers which were used to create scenes. It was an imposing backdrop which never overshadowed the production but greatly enhanced it. It would be unfair to single out any one member of the cast as they were all amazing. The amount of energy and empathy they brought to their parts was inspiring.
There were plenty of laugh out loud moments as well as times when unbidden tears were surreptitiously wiped away. The whole experience was pure theatre and I was won over by The Girls. The standing ovation was proof that I was not the only one.
Writers Gary Barlow and Tim Firth (also director) grew up in the same village in the north of England and have been friends for 25 years. With Take That, Gary has written and co-written 14 number one singles, has sold over 50 million records worldwide and is a six times Ivor Novello Award winner. Tim has won the Olivier Award and UK Theatre Award for Best New Musical, and the British Comedy Awards Best Comedy Film for Calendar Girls.
The critically acclaimed and award-winning production will complete its six-month London season at the Phoenix Theatre on Saturday 15 July 2017 and David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers, the producers The Girls, are delighted to announce that the production will return home to Yorkshire and open at the Leeds Grand Theatre on 15 August 2018 and visit 42 theatres across the United Kingdom.
Bloodwise, the UK’s specialist blood cancer charity, will receive monies from this production.
PWT rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
Before the show Olivia and I had a meal at the Phoenix Artist Club which is open to non-members before 9pm. They have a new menu: Olivia had the risotto and I had one of their excellent salads. Non-members who are seeing the show can return to the club afterwards on producing their theatre tickets. If you have the time this makes a fabulous end to your evening – we went back for the Friday evening piano sing-along and had a great time. And you never know you may meet some of the cast...
PWT rating: ♥♥♥♥♥