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Calendar Girls review

Dr Lord Mark Garner on middle aged bodies and 140 character busting

Written by . Published on February 24th 2011.

Calendar Girls review

It’s a brand. One of those that I recognise but don’t really know much about. Calendar Girls. Hmmm.

It took me a while to figure out the idea of a ‘front bottom’ (strange this, I consider myself expert) and I still don’t know what the hell a pelvic floor is, but I have to say the writing had me laughing out loud.

One of my Twitter pals, @michaelfahy, has got reviewing down to a fine art on Twitter. You can only use 140 characters, it works well to stop copywriters going on with themselves. Also, if I could use the rule on telephone calls with my Mother and pal Howard Sharrock, I would regain two hours of my life every day.

So for example.

“Film review: The Last Mistress. Dopey French aristo-tit humps mad Spanish Harlot and then regrets it. And then does it again. Utter toss.”

Now, Michael, who cannot be accused of being a prolific tweeter, has something here and I decided to do a similar experiment with a theatre review and found myself in The Palace Theatre with my photographer, Pip, female. She might be able to bring a different dimension to my thoughts on the matter. Pip is a hard-ass ex photo journalist.

The first half of the play gets on with the storyline: Yorkshire Women’s Institute ladies are bored, one of them has a nice husband who loves her lots (Joe McGann, great.). Husband gets cancer.

Worryingly, at this revelation, there are weird sounds coming from Pip on my left, and a nice couple of gentlemen on a date to my right. They all seem to be starting a cold at the same time. I wish they would all blow their bloody noses.

One scene later, the husband arrives in a wheelchair, shows off his head, now bereft of hair, makes a feeble (but emotionally powerful) tilt at being un-bothered. Cue abject sobbing from Pip, the two chaps, and now three ladies from Stockport WI behind me.

And then the bugger dies. Everyone around me bursts into tears.

The ladies decide to raise money from producing a calendar, not full of shots of stone bridges across pretty streams, but shots of abundant middle age flesh. It took me a while to figure out the idea of a ‘front bottom’ (strange this, I consider myself expert) and I still don’t know what the hell a pelvic floor is, but I have to say the writing had me laughing out loud, as well as doing a bit of snivelling myself.

The ladies go on to raise enough money to buy the memorial for the dead husband and some. The play deals positively with middle class issues, snobbism, grasping at fame, friendships and womens weird obsession with the state of their bodies. I have to give some advice here, ladies, there is no such thing as an ugly body. It’s all about how well you snog.

This cast is superb at bringing a really tightly written script together, they make it shine through great timing with help from a solid director.

If you can get tickets, go. It’s a great big feather duster for the soul.

Errr… That’s a bit more than 145 characters I am afraid, I am clearly going to have to practice.

Calendar Girls is on at the Palace Theatre until 26 February, 0844 847 2275palaceandoperahouse.org.uk. It will be at Grand Theatre and Opera House, Leeds from 7-19 March, 0844 848 2701 leedsgrandtheatre.com

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ahhhhFebruary 24th 2011.

..so that's why I had to fight my way through the hoards of elderly ladies on my way to Oxford Road last night. Certainly got their Demographic sorted there.

Henrietta CharlesFebruary 24th 2011.

Well Mr Garner, I didn't know you were a Theatre Reviewer. Not bad, could do with a little dusting down yourself though.

Brad PittFebruary 27th 2011.

Why does Gordo have a personal photographer these days? He's usually got a blond with large breasts with him. This one looked like she had some brains.

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