5* REVIEW Calendar Girls Musical Tour

Calendar Girls Musical UK Tour 2018…

CALENDAR GIRLS The Musical by Tim Firth is on the road through 2019. It’s a belter!

With equal measure of pathos, tragedy and hysterical laughter – this is a beautifully crafted play with music.

Unlike so many, its ALL STAR CAST has been picked perfectly and there’s not a weak link from start to finish. Fern Britton, Denise Welch & Ruth Madoc SHINE amongst a stellar West End quality cast.

Gary Barlow has  spent zero budget on the set, but who cares, the writing is exceptional. Few plays in history have such consistent belly laughs.

This show had its knockers in the West End, but, we loved it!

BOOK CALENDAR GIRLS TICKETS HERE!

  

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What is most delicious about this musical is that from the opening line you’re invested. Den begins the show with three expletives. We’ve found our level! What this show lacks in class it makes up for in bucket loads of northern charm, talent and raucous lol’s.

This show is naughtier than a Yorkshire Pudding dripping in gravy…..but equally heart warming.

Unlike London, the newly named ‘The Girls’ has been crafted to within an inch of it’s life in Act 1. It’s very ‘up north’ though. If you like the sarcasm and word play of Victoria Wood, this is right up your cobbled gunnel!

I wonder if it will play as strong outside of the Leeds Grand – its spiritual home in Yorkshire? We shall see…

Most thrilling is the talent. It’s a 5* company for sure.

The comic timing of Denise Welch and Ruth Madoc is inspired. They both shared the biggest laughs of the show by a mile!

The 2018 cast of Calendar Girls:

You can see decades of crafting their unique skills in front of your eyes. Den’s naughtiness is divine, Ruth’s innocent ‘knowing’ is fabulous. Bravo to both – legends at work!

Fern Britton was a huge surprise. Best known as a consummate pro on Live TV, this does not necessarily qualify you to drive a play of this magnitude. She pulls it off magnificently! Obviously her roots are in the theatre but few TV types could attempt such high spec writing.

Nods must also go to the whole company. Perfectly cast.

Naturally Anne Jane Casey is superb, a class act who brings more grit and reality to this part than I’ve previously seen. This is not about ‘the big sing’ – this is a woman who has lost everything!

Sarah Crowe is devilishly brilliant, Karen Dunbar is captivating and commanding, Rebecca Storm always makes it look easy and Sebastian, Ian, Alan and Phil play the husbands to northern perfection. Pauline Daniels is a superb character actress.

Huge praise for the ‘kids’ – such charisma and new talent. Isabell Caswell Jenny, Tyler Dobbs & Danny Howker. All utterly charming and packed with the wit this piece demands.

My only words of caution is Barlow’s musical indulgence. There’s probably 5  too many opportunities for him to shine is this show.

We get it, he can write magnificently – but less is sometimes more. Most songs in Act 2 (other than reprise) are instantly forgettable. He proves his brilliance though with Den & Ruth’s 11 O’clock showstoppers. Worth the ticket price alone – this is what theatre is all about!

Here’s the cast standing ovation at the Leeds Grand Theatre:

I’d chop 15 minutes from Act 2 to make this a perfect show. The vodka scene was superfluous, indulgent and incongruous….although masterfully performed. Let’s face it Gazza, we only came to see their buns!

Also, for £45 a ticket you can afford to have a decent set. A hospital in a field is a little low rent. This show is purely saved by the cast and writing.

This is a 4* production with a 5* cast.

Tour Dates:

5 – 15 September The Marlowe
18 – 29 September Newcastle Theatre
2 – 13 October Festival Theatre
16 – 20 October Leicester De Montfort
23 – 27 October Venue Cymru
30 October – 10 November The Lowry
13 – 17 November Stoke Regent
20 – 24 November Hull New
27 Nov – 1 December Liverpool

2019

8 – 19 January 2019 Mayflower Theatre
22 Jan – 2 Feb 2019 Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin
5 – 16 February 2019 Norwich Theatre
19 Feb – 2 March 2019 His Majesty’s Theatre
5 – 16 March 2019 The Orchard Theatre
19 – 23 March 2019 Sunderland Emptire
26 – 30 March 2019 New Victoria Theatre
2 – 13 April 2019 Sheffield Lyceum Theatre
16 – 20 April 2019 New Theatre, Oxford

Alex Belfield bought his ticket to review Calendar Girls for Celebrity Radio 2nd August 2018.