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Issue:- Saturday, 5 December 2015

Headlines and reports on this page = 2 news items.    Page - 11.

Review:- "Yorkshire Goes Crackers for The Girls at Leeds Grand Theatre 2015!"
Review by Jo Forrest...
Yorkshire Goes Crackers for 'The Girls at Leeds Grand Theatre....'
Yorkshire Goes Crackers for The Girls at Leeds Grand Theatre 2015.

Photograph above is by Matt Crockett

THE Girls officially opened in the Leeds Grand Theatre, on Tuesday, 1 December 2015, and what a show that was. This most anticipated of musicals was written by Gary Barlow  and Tim Firth, who wrote the original Calendar Girls, 12 years ago, that was 1st made into a film, and then 5 years later as a stage play.   The audience was treated to a fun filled evening, as well as Gary joining cast on stage at the end to perform as a special treat, then being introduced to the original Calendar Girls as they also joined the cast on stage.  It was a special night indeed, with a well deserved standing ovation.

The story introduces us to a group of women from the Rylstone and District Women's Institute. We gradually get to know and bond with the characters their quirky personalities and their everyday life. Although this is a very funny musical the story itself is actually quite sad. It is hard not to get emotional at times as we go on the journey with Annie (Joanna Riding) as her husband is diagnosed with cancer having never had a days illness in his life, the subsequent treatment and his eventual death. However, there are some very funny moments during this time as well, especially, when Annie's good friend Chris (Claire Moore) bursts onto the stage in a wheelchair that she had found shouting:- "you will not believe how fast I have just got served."

In the 2nd ½ of the show we have Chris coming up with the idea to raise money for a new couch at the hospital where John was treated, which is of course is the now famous 'nude calendar'. We then go on a journey with each of the ladies who are to participate and their inner struggles, as well as dealing with opposition from Marie (Harriet Thorpe) forcing them to travel to London to seek permission from the Women's Institute headquarters, this takes us up to the moment where each of them derobe in turn and strike their pose. I have to admit I thought these ladies were very brave to go on stage in front of hundreds of people and get naked.

The characters are strong and funny, it is hard not to lose yourself in the show and share/feel their joy and pain. We are taken on a journey where the laughter is almost non stop as well as shedding a few tears as well as ultimately friendship overcoming diversity. The set design by Robert Jones was clever and innovative, using boxes, drawers and wardrobes.

A brilliantly funny musical that is an absolute must see. The show is on in Leeds until the 12 December 2015, before opening at The Lowry on 8 January 2016. After that that show heads to the West End, where there is no doubt that this will be another huge success for both Tim and Gary.

The show runs at:-

Leeds Grand Theatre until 12 December 2015. Tickets can be obtained via calling:- 0844 848 2700.

The show will then move to the Lowry Manchester, running over 8 January to 30 January 2015. Tickets can be obtained via:- 0843 208 6000.

Photographs below by Jo Forrest.

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