Think The Full Monty except this time you have the women stripping off for charity and you have CALENDAR GIRLS. The play which previously was a film is based on the true story of a group of Yorkshire women who produced a nude calendar to raise money for leukaemia research under the auspices of the Women’s Institute in April 1999.
In the play Annie Clarke loses her husband John from leukaemia and at the suggestion of her friend Chris comes up with the idea of replacing a badly worn-out sofa at the local hospital which treated John. The way that Annie and Chris decide to fund the purchase is by way of producing the calendar with their girlfriends from the Women’s Institute. The girls had little idea of how successful the calendar would be. They made so much money that they ended up being able to purchase a whole wing at the hospital which was named after him.
Christopher Hamilton very competently directs this production for Hunters Hill Theatre Company. Hamilton wins good performances from his cast. The nude scenes are done by tantalising inference with agricultural produce covering their breasts.
Liz Grindley gives a very polished performance as the ringleader of the girls, the extroverted, Chris.
As the quieter, more conservative Annie Clark, Anna Desjardins plays her part well.
Liz Lynch plays Cora, a shop owner and divorced single mother who is the organist of the Women’s Institute.
Diane Wilson plays retired schoolteacher Jessie.
Claudia Bedford plays sexy Celia.
GregThornton plays the photographer and John Clark’s nurse.
Murray Fane plays Rod, Chris’s husband, a florist.
Georgia Colledge plays Elaine.
Penny Church plays Ruth Reynoldson, a carpet dealer’s housewife.
Michael Richmond plays John, Annie’s dying husband.
Susan Mozell plays Marie, the chairwoman of the Women’s Institute.
Christopher Hamilton designed the one set of a church hall in Yorkshire with the use of a lectern indicating when the location had changed to a conference gathering in London.
Wayne Chee’s lighting design works well.
There is bridging music between scenes featuring instrumental music.
Recommended, CALENDAR GIRLS is playing the Hunters Hill Theatre, 22 Alexandria Street, Hunters Hill until 25 November, 2018.