HCAU Reviews: The Girls The Musical

HCAU Reviews: The Girls The Musical

 For those of you who haven’t heard about The Girls, it is a musical based on the film Calendar Girls’, which is a film based on a true story. The story is about a group of ladies from Yorkshire who are members of the Women’s Institute (WI) and their efforts to raise money for their local hospital. They are doing this because Annie (one of the WI members) has lost her husband, John, to cancer. Their efforts are somewhat unconventional- they pose in the nude for their annual WI calendar. Each image is taken of the girls in doing traditional WI activities- baking, knitting etc- and includes a sunflower in homage to Annie’s husband who was a keen gardener with a penchant for sunflowers. The sale of the calendars became somewhat of a global phenomenon, and the girls have raised over £3 million for Bloodwise since the release of their calendar in 1999 (alongside their original goal of replacing the sofa in the hospital John was treated in).

 

Calendar Girls is a film that my Mum and I love, so when I saw that The Girls was on when we visited London, I thought it would be perfect! I hadn’t read much about the musical prior to the show but I guessed that if it was anywhere near as good as the film we would enjoy it.

 

The musical is a little different from the film, but in my opinion it’s better. The songs, written by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, are brilliant. Even though you have not heard them before they have you singing along and laughing at the same time. Aside from being an uplifting story about women coming together to achieve something extraordinary, both the film and the musical are absolutely hilarious!

 

I would not be doing the show justice if I didn’t speak specifically about the actors and actresses. They convey the story perfectly- if you’ve not seen the film and you want to see the play you won’t be lost at all. According to their website the show will be touring the UK soon- so keep an eye out for tickets if you want to see these ladies perform for yourself. Although the story comes from a hard-hitting topic, the comedic timing is perfect and balances out the sadness that the characters are feeling. The women in the play are nothing short of fabulous- they are of all shapes and sizes and they flaunt their figures so well on stage which would give anyone a little boost to their body confidence.

 

The cherry on the cake for me with The Girls was that it all comes full circle. In the show, Annie’s husband dies of leukaemia, and I believe one of the reasons this story resonates so well with so many people is because it comes back to something almost everyone has struggled with- watching a relative battle with cancer, or fighting the battle personally. At the end of the show all the women rushed from the stage to the foyer and were collecting money for Bloodwise, a charity that funds blood cancer research. My Granda died of leukaemia eleven years ago, so it’s something that has affected my family in a big way and to see the cast of the show raising awareness of such a fantastic charity and continuing the work of the original Calendar Girls in raising money really warmed my heart. They also donate money from ticket sales and merchandise to Bloodwise. The battle against cancer is a war we’re all still waging, and if we can fight it while reflecting on those we’ve lost and having a few laughs at the same time then we are on to a winner. To the cast, writers, and producers of The Girls- you have nailed it.

 

Images: britishtheatre.com & lovetheatre.com