Review: Calendar Girls by Dereham Theatre Comnpany

The Dereham Calendar Girls

The Dereham Calendar Girls - Credit: Archant

It's a play which manages to blend side-splitting hilarity, heart-rending sadness, a gritty story line and of course a good dollop of sauciness.

EVT 0502

EVT 0502 - Credit: Archant

Calendar Girls has become a true British institution since the inspiring true story became a box office smash hit and the fastest selling play in British theatre history.

The Dereham Calendar Girls special calendar

The Dereham Calendar Girls special calendar - Credit: Archant

Dereham Theatre Company's girls threw themselves into the stage production with great enthusiasm, energy and bravery. It's not the easiest thing to do to take your kit off in your own town with lots of your friends watching.

They clearly loved the experience of performing the show and also becoming local celebrities through their own alternative version of the calendar.

It was great to see a really healthy audience for the opening night - and local support continued for the rest of the week.

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Director David Rees lost his sister to leukaeumia when she was 22 and so the story line has been very poignant for him.

Under his direction the cast ensured the very funny parts of the show were accentuated, the pathos was brought to the fore and the power of the strained friendships was strongly portrayed.

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Enough flesh was on display to do justice to the very basis of the play, while the modesty of the cheeky girls was maintained (just!).

Calendar Girls left the audience not knowing whether to laugh more or cry more and there are lots of memorable lines such as 'Lawrence - we need considerably bigger buns!' and 'one lump or two?' as one of the naked ladies came from behind the hatch with just a large teapot and cup.

It's a great play by a great cast and raising valuable money for worthy causes.

I don't normally give everyone a name check in reviews - but on this occasion they really deserve it! So here goes: Samantha Elmhurst (Cora), Jane Mack (Chris), Karen Bates (Annie), Colleen Harris (Jessie), Julie Hewitt (Celia), Marilyn Cara (Ruth), Zelda Rolfe (Marie), Sonia Sandell (Brenda Hulse), Ian Sandell (John), Tony Wilds (Rod), Ruth Hannent (Lady Cravenshire), Russell Baylin (Lawrence), Hannah Rolfe (Elaine) and Mark Wells (Liam).

Calendar Girls continues on Friday and Saturday, 7.30pm plus a matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday. Tickets are £12 and £10 concessions. Call 01362 691569 or online at

*The Dereham cast's calendar is on sale at the show and from local cancer charity shops.

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