Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Review: Calendar Girls at De Montfort Hall, Leicester...

Calendar Girls at De Montfort Hall, Leicester
Calendar Girls returns to De Montfort Hall for one last week of shows, with original Calendar Girl Lynda Bellingham (playing Chris), together with a first-rate cast including Camilla Dallerup, Jan Harvey, Sue Holderness, Deena Payne, Lisa Riley, June Watson, Ruth Madoc, Kevin Sacre and Joe McGann; all familiar faces to regular theatre goers, or indeed, anyone who owns a television.

The last time Calendar Girls was staged at De Montfort Hall it broke all sorts of box office records, and judged solely by the full house last night, it’s on course to repeat the achievement. Because of the success of the film (and book, and lest we forget, the calendar), just about everyone in the audience knows the story, the dynamics of the character’s relationships and what they’re going to do with the cream buns. That didn’t stop a barrage of audible sobs during the more poignant bits, and the chap directly behind me blubbed like a baby for what seemed like half the show. I wish I’d kept my hat on, although, it must be said, he was very much in the minority, and for the most part it’s a genuinely funny show, heartwarming and just about the living definition of a feel-good comedy. The laughter reached its climax during the “shoot”. The appearance of a camera and lights marking the show’s highpoint, and takes the audience to the interval on waves of chuckles.

The final 45 minutes deals with the fallout, the changing and developing relationships, and the success of the calendar, which was originally conceived to raise money to buy a piece of furniture for a local hospital. Needless to say, everything sorts itself out, the financial target is obliterated, and after three or four rounds of applause, the audience is dispatched homeward, with echoes of “Jerusalem” still reverberating around the hall.
Rob F.

De Montfort Hall
Granville Road
Box office enquiries: 0116 233 3111

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