"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Cards at the Village Hall
Firth's play of 2008 – and the calendar of 2000 – have returned
to their charitable, community roots, with over 500 amateur groups
fighting for a chance to perform it, raising money for Leukaemia and
Lymphoma Research and aiming for the Guinness Book of Records.
an inspiring story, shot through with sentimentality and Yorkshire
humour. Laura Bennett's sell-out production at Writtle has a
top-notch cast, not only the six poseuses, but the beautician, WI
officials and guests, plus of course the men – Neil Smith hilarious
as the shy snapper, Daniel Curley very moving as the husband whose
death sets the whole scheme in motion.
through the months, we see some of the best, and the bravest,
actresses of a certain age for miles around. Paulette Harris
outstanding as the forthright florist, Michele Moody as the boozy
refugee from the golf club, Barbara Llewellyn as the Brodiesque
retired teacher, Sharon Goodwin, the determined widow, Beth Crozier
as the musical single mum and Liz Curley as the reluctant Ruth. Not
forgetting Jean Speller as the gloriously snobbish branch chairman.
a cheeky bunch, naughtily subverting the jam and Jerusalem image with
their giggly banter. And Firth's script provides one-liners and
set-pieces for everyone.
thoroughly enjoyable staging is spare and simple – the Dales on a
sliding screen – with effectively stylised solutions to the death
of John, the showers of fan mail, the sunflowers.
for Writtle, there are sunflowers everywhere, a fund-raising stall
for that original Calendar Girls charity, Victoria Sponge [not M&S]
and Knapely Knee-trembler in the interval, the real W.I. in
attendance. The all-important photo-shoot props include preserves
from, where else, Wilkin's.
yes, dear reader, I bought the calendar, [pictures by ParryHide Photography] which I'm pleased to see features many other company
members to make up the eighteen months ...