On Saturday night I went along to the opening night of Calendar Girls at The Court Theatre in Christchurch. Having grown up in the UK, I was familiar with both the true story and the film adaptation. I really enjoyed the film and it had a fantastic and hilarious cast so it was definitely not going to be an easy task to live up to for any theatre production.
The story is about a group of women who belong to the Yorkshire WI (Women’s Institute) in Northern England. Each year they produce a calendar mostly containing scenes of local churches or bridges, which sell only a few copies, to raise money for a local charity. They decide however, that they want to raise money to buy a new sofa for the family waiting room of the cancer wing at the local hospital. In order to do this they know that they have to sell more calendars then they are currently, and so have to come up with a new and exciting theme. I won’t give away the rest except to say it was a good job they had rather large cupcakes on hand to cover certain body parts!
Right from the beginning it had me hooked. The cast were fantastic and really brought the story to life on stage. They really managed to convey an array of emotions and had me laughing my head off at times and at others close to tears. The set design was simple but really effective and worked well in the small theatre. The time flew by and I didn’t find myself clock watching at all, which means that it had me engrossed. The chemistry between the female characters was excellent and they thrived off each other resulting in a truely funny and heartwarming rendition of this amazing story.
The Court Theatre is going from strength to strength. Having lost their home of 35 years at The Arts Centre in the February Earthquake, the didn’t just bow out and disappear off the scene. They have been fundraising non-stop in order to raise 4.2 million to open a brand new theatre in Addington dubbed The Shed (as it was an old grain storage silo). The building now houses all of the departments of the theatre under one roof. Not only that but the facilities are great. Lots of parking, comfier seats, and a purpose built stage and auditorium built specifically to create a more intimate atmosphere between the cast and the audience.
I had a fantastic night out and would highly recommend going to see the play. The season of Calendar Girls runs from 17th March till the 28th of April. For more information go to http://www.courttheatre.org.nz/