Review: Gary Barlow & Tim Firth’s Calendar Girls The Musical

Written by on January 16, 2024

Review: Gary Barlow & Tim Firth’s Calendar Girls The Musical

Lowry, Salford Quays 16th January, 2024 – by Millie Hardman

Following the death of a much-loved husband, a group of ordinary women in a small Yorkshire Women’s Institute are prompted to do an extraordinary thing and set about creating a nude calendar to raise money for charity. But upturning preconceptions is a dangerous business and none of the women are prepared for the emotional and personal ramifications they will face as the fabulous and funny calendar brings each woman unexpectedly into flower. The story of the Calendar Girls launched a global phenomenon: a million copycat calendars, a record-breaking movie, stage play and now a musical written by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth which coined the term “craughing” – the act of crying and laughing at the same time! With unforgettable songs, every performance continues to add to the millions already raised for Blood Cancer UK and prove that there is no such thing as an ordinary woman.



Following the original 2003 ‘Calendar Girls’ film based on the true story of a Women’s Institute in 1999, and the previous runs of Tim Firth and Gary Barlow’s The Girls and Calendar Girls the Musical, this new Bill Kenwright production remains a truly heart-warming watch.  The ‘Calendar Girls’ (Laurie Brett, Maureen Nolan, Lyn Paul, Helen Pearson, Honeysuckle Weeks, and Samantha Seager) were truly a breath of fresh air on stage, remaining bubbly and energetic throughout, but never failing to portray the lovely messages through the incredible songs throughout the entire show – under the amazing musical direction of Jordan Alexander.

The friendship between the women in this musical truly represents what female friendships are all about, from the gossip on a Thursday night at the WI, to the ups and downs between them, there was a constant theme of love and support for each other which was incredibly moving to watch.

In addition, Colin R Campbell perfectly portrayed the storyline of John Baker in an incredibly heartfelt yet uplifting way, as through his struggles he still brought a sense of joy to the character on stage.

With a simplistic set designed by Gary McCann, paired with the complex lighting design it was marvellous to watch the transitions from day to night with such ease, strongly portraying the emotions the characters were feeling. The camera flashes during ‘For One Night Only’ are particularly noteworthy, giving the lighting an amazing sense of realism.

This 2024 production rewards repeat visits and is truly everything you would hope for and more, whether you’re a teenager watching the story for the first time or a long-standing fan of the original 2003 film, you can see it touches every single audience member’s heart and leaves you feeling joyous and celebratory of life.

Get more information about this Calendar Girls tour from the official site HERE.


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