WARM-HEARTED COMEDY BALANCES HUMOUR AND PATHOS
Written by Tim Firth
Directed by Shane Anthony
PROUDLY PRESENTED by gen-i
at Fortune Theatre, Dunedin
From 10 Nov 2012 to 8 Dec 2012
Reviewed by Brenda Harwood, 16 Nov 2012
originally published in The Star
Laughter and tears flowed for audience members during Saturday's opening night of delightful pre-Christmas show Calendar Girls at the Fortune Theatre.
Tim Firth's stage adaptation of the well-known movie of the same name, about a group of Yorkshire women going nude for a charity calendar, was expertly handled by a vastly experienced team, under the direction of Shane Anthony. The result was a relaxed, natural-feeling portrayal of the highs and lows of life and friendship, from outright hilarity to heartbreak.
A nicely-crafted ensemble piece, made stronger by the combined talents of Donna Akersten, Michele Amas, Clare Adams, Lisa Warrington, Hilary Halba, Donogh Rees, Hilary Norris, Peter Hayden, Timothy Bartlett, Lynda Milligan and Danny Still, this production of Calendar Girls was a joy to witness.
The cast's expert handling of the hysterically funny nude photography scene had the audience roaring with delight.
Set designer Peter King's depiction of the women's institute hall and a Yorkshire hillside provided a nice backdrop to the play's busy action. Wardrobe design by Maryanne Wright-Smyth added its own nuance to the characters, as did the expert lighting design by Stephen Kilroy and sound design by Lindsay Gordon.
In the hands of this team, Calendar Girls achieves a nice balance between humour and pathos, giving the audience a night of warm-hearted comedy with a great deal of heart.
This is perfect pre-Christmas fare. Highly recommended.
Calendar Girls continues at the Fortune Theatre until December 8.
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Barbara Frame (Otago Daily Times);