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Friday, 12 February 2010

Review of Calendar Girls at The Lowry, Manchester

I'm not always very clever when it comes to booking theatre tickets. Every few months the brochures plop onto the doormat, and in a fit of frenzied worthiness I book a load of stuff, often quite indiscriminately. To make matters worse, I tend to book for Thursday nights, congratulating myself on saving a massive £3 on booking for a Friday or Saturday night.

Then the night in question rolls around. Thursday is my heaviest teaching day, and come 5pm the thought of heading off to some high-brow arty-farty thing is often just too much for me. So my relief was almost palpable to remember that last night I'd booked for something comfortably low-brow, and even better, something I'd seen before. I took my mum to see Calendar Girls at The Lowry last year, not dreaming that my husband would have wanted to go; when a fit of sulkiness ensued, I was more than happy to book to see the play again this week.

The cast isn't quite as good this time round, although thankfully Lynda Bellingham is still playing the role of Chris. I must admit to developing something of a girl-crush on the Oxo matriarch in recent years, and she does look truly amazing for someone who is almost one hundred years old. I can also see why boys like the frankly gorgeous Gemma Atkinson, although her acting was less convincing than that of Gaynor Faye in the same role last year.

The stage version of Calendar Girls is far better than the film version, cutting out the silly bit where they all head off to America and substituting some genuinely moving scenes including letters falling from the sky and sunflowers arising from the stage. The very best bit is when the retired teacher reveals all - or almost all, hidden modestly behind her knitting - to a former student; I am already gleefully planning my old age...

- Calendar Girls is at The Lowry until 20th February 2010.

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