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September 2012
Calendar Girls adapted for the stage by Caroline Kennedy from the Original Screenplay by Juliette Towhidi & Tim Firth

By Jon Moreno - Friday, September 14, 2012
(reproduced by kind permission of
the Isle of Wight County Press)

THEATRE goers in Cowes had probably never seen so much female flesh exposed on the Trinity Theatre stage before.

Cowes Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society like variety in their productions and provided there were enough actresses brave enough to give it a shot, Calendar Girls was likely to be a draw.

That was certainly the case on Thursday last week, with the largest audience I’d seen at Trinity for several years.

The stage adaptation of Calendar Girls, also a successful film, is based on the true story of a group of women from a Yorkshire village who produce a nude calendar as a fundraising idea.

The idea follows the death from cancer of the husband of local WI member, Annie. It was a difficult role played well by Amber Bourne, who juxtaposed her grief with nice touches of humour.

A bit of a slow burner, the play burst into life about two-thirds into the first act, when the idea of a nude calendar became reality.

There were plenty of belly laughs as nervous photographer Lawrence, a great cameo by Pete Stockman, stage-managed WI-style poses of women with a twist — covering their modesty with iced buns, fruit, flowers, pastries and a tea-set.

Although the models did their best to conceal themselves, they did not always succeed...

Fiona Gwinnett, as the brash Chris, the driving force behind the calendar, appeared to have all the best lines but thanks to a good script, the other protagonists were eased in for a happy balance.

Maria Wilkinson, as the glamourous and rebellious golfer, Celia, was played to a tee, while the roles of carpet dealer’s wife Ruth (Amanda Barnley), church organ-playing single mum Cora (Ruth Ashall) and retired teacher Jessie (Helen Clinton-Pacey) were handled superbly.

It was plain to see the cast had a lot of fun with the play and this made for a very enjoyable production, which got the applause it deserved.