John Swannell

Direct from its debut in London’s West End, the musical adaptation of the Calendar Girls brings an emotive punch to this beloved story.

Currently touring the UK and written by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, Calendar Girls: The Musical follows the life of a village in Yorkshire as it tries to honour one of its members diagnosed with cancer. From there, his wife – with a little help from her friends – bare all in the hope of helping others fighting the same difficult and life-changing battle.

Delivered perfectly with a simple set and music that is stunning with every song – of which each pack an almighty punch, much to Gary and Tim’s credit – it’s girl power from and centre as this ensemble of women lead throughout. 

However what makes The Calendar Girls musical work isn’t just this real life story of perseverance, but the power of the human spirit. It’s impossible to watch and not feel moved, empowered and – very regularly – emotional. There isn’t a dry eye in the house come curtain call. Songs like Dare, Scarborough and Kilimanjaro the real standouts from this cast.

But this is anything but a musical that aims to just break your heart – although it will do that as well. For Calendar Girls: The Musical, there’s fun, joy and scenes with more than the expected are seen. The famous nude calendar scene? Yes it’s there and very, very funny, once again to the great credit of this cast and creative team for assembling a perfect balance between tears and hysterics. 

In a world that is full of great division, Calendar Girls: The Musical displays the very brilliance of togetherness. Many of us have our own difficult experiences with cancer, and while it’s a horrible subject to face, these women – and this show – face it head-on. Together, their story creates something wonderful and makes this show a total must-see.

GAY TIMES gives Calendar Girls – ★★★★★

More information can be found here.