What a great date
IN the (rephrased) words of William Blake: "I will not cease from mental fight, nor shall my sword sleep in my hand, till we have driven the scourge of leukemia from England's green and pleasant land"
Thus inspired, the ladies of the Knapely WI resolve that Annie's tragic husband John will be respectfully remembered after his untimely death. Their story becomes the stuff of legend: a nude calendar that will raise funds to combat this dreadful disease, and buy a commemorative sofa for a local hospital.
Displaying equally brave determination, Cheltenham Operatic and Dramatic Society engage spiritedly with Tim Firth's touching stage adaptation of the 2003 feature film. From the outset, there is comedy, warmth and pathos in abundance. Amidst all the joy, however, lies a mordant sadness, and between the gales of laughter, the poignant silences of shared grief grasp at the very soul.
Yet imbuing it all is an abiding sense of hope, and in a gold-plated case of "We shall overcome", girl power rules okay. Spearheaded by brash Celia and feisty Chris, their great humanitarian crusade steadily gathers momentum. Inhibitions evaporate, the moment of truth arrives, and the calendar shoot itself is simply electrifying; each of the courageous ladies is wildly and justly applauded as they strike their daring poses, and the crowning Christmas tableau is unforgettable. Singling out individual performances in a cast whose every character is strong and real seems unfair; ultimately triumphant here are CODS themselves, upon whom the countenance divine has indeed shone forth. Make a date, wear a sunflower and prepare to shed a tear or two.
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Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Calendar Girls runs until Saturday 29th September. Tickets are available at The Playhouse Tel: 522852