Review The Girls Musical by Gary Barlow

Review The Girls Musical by Gary Barlow…

THE GIRLS tells the true story of the Yorkshire CALENDAR GIRLS, a group of delicious housewives who achieve something extraordinary….and made history!

This hugely witty Northern tale has been staged for years, but, never as a musical….

This new musical comedy has brought together the writing talents of Gary Barlow and Tim Firth who have been friends for 25 years.

This brand new production has true heart, big laughs, nice tunes, captivating staging, slick lighting and the most remarkable feel good factor throughout.

What is most appealing about this show is the collective talents and personalities of the fabulous cast. 4* for The Girls.


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The Girls is really a show of two halves. Although there are moments of spectacle and brilliance in Act 1, the real hysterics and heart don’t kick in until the second half.

Having said that, what drives this entire play is the endless zinger gags beautifully crafted and delivered to perfection.

This show encapsulates the true origins of ‘banter’ – the act of true friends (often brutally) teasing, ribbing and taking the piss…..just for fun!

The very occasional ‘bad’ language is used perfectly for shock with howling effect from the punters!

The cast offer a collective master-class in comic timing matched with pathos, drama & heartache of this emotion story.

Claire Moore steals the show as Chris along with Michele Dotrice who is a powerhouse actress with impeccable delivery.

Joanna Riding drives Act 1 through the loss of her husband to cancer – the backbone of the play. Barlow’s songs sadly felt a little repetitive, self-indulgent, relentless & wordy during these sections. Riding does however kill with an ’11 o’clock number’ in Act 2.

Huge respect to Josh Benson, Ben Hunter & Chloe May Jackson who offer a gorgeous energy as the lovable teen leads.

The musical is based on the 2003 film Calendar Girls which starred Julie Walters and Helen Mirren.

As with the film, play and now the musical – what people come for is the true community of ‘The Calendar Girls’. It’s so heart-warming to see these genuine friends brought back to life without cliché or parody.

The essence of the story is one of northern fight. The cast and Firth’s script nail the reason Yorkshire is truly one of the most magical places in the UK – both in location and the people who live there.

The GIRLS perfectly balances the pathos of reality with the joy of survival.

Some of the music in this show is electrifying like ‘Dare’, ‘Yorkshire’, ‘Protect me less’ & ‘Sunflower’. The audience loved them. The close of Act 1 is nothing short of sensational.

Other songs like ‘Who Wants A Silent Nights’ are just brilliantly staged production numbers that lift and drive the entire show.

Finally, and most importantly, the ‘calendar shoot’ scene is one of the most beautifully crafted 20 minutes of theatre I’ve ever seen.

It’s clever, beautifully performed & produced, technically stunning, delicate, touching and LMFAO funny!

Don’t miss the feel good musical of 2017 at the Phoenix Theatre London!

Review by Alex Belfield for Celebrity Radio 22nd Feb 2017.