BWW Review: CALENDAR GIRLS at Athenaeum Theatre
Many have seen the famous film featuring a veritable who's who of British screen, and this stage production is just as heartwarming. Based on a true story, the story follows a Women's Institute group in Yorkshire, looking for ways to spice up their humdrum lives and raise money for charity.
Despite clunky direction and a weak script, the cast shine. In particular, Abi Richardson as the heartbroken Annie is truly wonderful. Her moments of honesty can be felt at the back of the Athenaeum and she brought tears to the eyes of many.
Whilst Lulu McClatchy as Ruth gets laughs as the obvious comedic character, but the lack of subtly in the direction of her character means Francesca Waters takes centre stage as the comedic performance of the night. This is particularly disappointing as McClatchy had some great moments but the poignant moment for her character fell flatter than desired. Francesca Waters as former teacher and the group's blunt commentator, gives just the right amount of grit to a slew of otherwise reasonably light characters.
Applause to the bravery of the cast in the photo shoot scene who managed to make us laugh and feel totally comfortable. This scene is wonderful but the rest of the direction by Peter J. Snee is lacking light and shade which sadly resulted in the absence of depth. This coupled with some confusing accents didn't keep the audience in the story and didn't do justice to a lot of what should have been wonderful female story arcs.
A fun night out overall and a timely presentation of a genuinely empowering piece around the strength of women and the importance of diversity and taking action.