End of February, my friend Olivia invited me to see the musical adaptation of The Calendar Girls, titled The Girls, by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth. Based on a true story, The Girls follows Annie whose husband passes away from cancer. Aiming to raise money for a new sofa in the hospital her husband was treated, Annie and her fellow members of the Women’s Institution make a nude calendar to sell.
Going into this, the original story wasn’t something I knew a whole lot about, I hadn’t even seen the film the show is based on. And even though the character names had changed, I’m glad a wonderful story like this is being told in the West End. And I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed The Girls. It’s such a wonderful uplifting musical with British humour right at the heart of it. The music has a pop feel to it and has a fantastic group of women of all sizes being brilliant on stage. While the story is drawn from Annie (played by Joanna Riding) and her husband John (played by James Gaddas), it’s very much an ensemble piece with stand out moments from each of the leading actresses. Their group Olivier nomination speaks for itself.
The Girls is a truly special show with a wonderful cast and some incredibly funny moments throughout. It’s refreshing to see a group of women being portrayed as a supportive group rather than trying to be catty and tear each other down. And, truth be told, it’s the feminist musical I didn’t know I wanted. If you enjoyed Made In Dagenham, then you will definitely love this.
The Girls is running at the Phoenix Theatre until July 15th. You can find more information at http://www.thegirlsmusical.com/
Until next time,