The Stage Club's latest offering was Calendar Girls by Tim Firth, which ran at the DBS Arts Centre from October 17-20, 2012.
Calendar Girls tells the tale of a group of women who are part of the Women's Institute (WI), a British community organisation for women. When one of them, Annie, faces life without her husband, who dies from cancer, her friend and fellow WI member Chris comes up with a plan to donate a couch to the hospital that took care of Annie's husband. In order to raise funds to buy the couch, Chris and Annie persuade their friends to pose nude for a calendar. Of course in the small English town of Yorkshire, where the play is set, this sparks all sorts of concerns and raises the townfolks' eyebrows.
Tim Firth wrote the play based on the screenplay of the same name he co-authored. However as noted by many theatre critics and reviewers, whilst the movie version of Calendar Girls was packed with punch and had good pace, the play version tends to thin out towards the second half. Overly long, the play doesn't have enough of a story to run for more than two hours. Furthermore, the first part of the play, which establishes the characters and their relationships to each other before Annie's husband dies, plays out too long. For a while, you wonder when the story is actually going to start.
It's worthy of note that Stage Club's production was manned, as all their productions are, by actors and production crew who were mostly volunteers and not proper theatre professionals.
The level of acting was a bit erratic, as some of the actors were a tad over the top, such as Angela Barolsky's portrayal of leading character Carrie and Debbie Smith who played quiet, innocent Ruth, while other actors were underacting, such as Jaclyn Scott who played church-raised Cora and Sarah Mitchell who played Annie. I also had a problem with Valerie Guichard who played WI leader Marie, as her natural French accent made her delivery sound strange as she struggled to throw a faux English accent into her dialogue. In addition, Guichard's contrived over-acting didn't help convince us of her character either.