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By RICHARD BATSON
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
The story of the Calendar Girls is winner on so many levels - from the titillation of its signature “reveal” scene to its heart warming plot of empowerment of women against personal tragedy and stuffy traditionalism.
Taking on such a project, as well as taking off your clothes, is a brave venture for an am dram group, whose audience is likely to have seen the story on the big screen or bigger stage.
But the Cromer and Sheringham Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society’s version rises to the challenge.
A strong cast’s comic timing and emotional empathy provide the light and shade of a play with double tissue power for wiping away alternating tears of laughter and sadness.
Amanda Howell and Chrissie Robertson lead the way as Annie and Chris the widow and driving force behind the calendar whose friendship is strengthened then tested by their rise to fame.
But they are backed up by fellow rebels glamourous trophy wife Celia (Kate Leggett), retired teacher Jessie (Mary Cubitt) church organist Cora (Brenda Binns) mousy Ruth (Joanna Ryan) and snobby WI chairman Marie (Ruth Elliott).
Director Martin Howard and his stage team also ensured the slick photo shoot scene promoted the fun of the moment and protected modesty.
Among the cameo parts Andrew Payne plays the dying John with a mix of compassion and comedy that sums up the play’s recipe for success which would win first prize at any WI competition.