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25th January 2016

Review: The Girls

Tim Firth and Gary Barlow bring their fresh interpretation of the nationally adored Calendar Girls to the Lowry

The Girls, a new musical inspired by Calendar Girls, held its world première at The Lowry this week. Having seen the West End production a fair few years ago, I was intrigued to see how a new take on the same story would be unleashed. I was pleasantly surprised. The music added a new dimension to the tale; it allowed the characters to express their thoughts and feelings in a deeper sense than words alone could convey. It encapsulated the humour and sadness the story managed to conquer, holding and carrying it through the music.

Being a Yorkshire girl across the roses border, The Girls made me feel very patriotic towards my county—the introductory number “Yorkshire” shouting proudly of the dales and fells I call home. It shows the relationship people have with their home, the pride to be a part of the community, and the desire to belong. It is, after all, community spirit alone that triumphs in this story, the daring to stand together, and it’s surprising just what can come of it.

There were the expected sad, delicate numbers that deal with loss, grief and sometimes the denial of death, beautifully written and projected to the audience. Yet alongside great sadness comes great joy. The humour brought by Claire Moor as Chris, whipping her bra off on the fell, and the humiliation by our parents that every teenager goes through is conveyed expertly by the young actors playing Danny, Tommo and Jenny.

The calendar shoot is played brilliantly by all of ‘The Girls’—it was done in elegance, amusement and humour. Yet best of all, I felt the audience were laughing with the nervous characters on stage, impressed and amazed by the bravery the actors put on show. It was tasteful, it was funny, and it entertained the whole audience.

Everything from the stage set, the music, to the actors was brilliant; it deepened my current understanding of The Calendar Girls story, and proves the bravery and determination of one group of ruthless WI girls. It’s an incredible true story, which only heightens the pressure and exposure of the show, a musical that brings more to life then music and words, a story to be shared.

The Girls deserved its standing ovation; make sure to catch this show while you still can. The Girls will also be playing at the Phoenix Theatre early 2017.

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