NODA Best Play Award in District 1
Best Production Award in District 1
This play and the plot are so familiar to the audience, that the director had to work doubly hard to ‘suspend disbelief’ and present a fresh interpretation to the audience. The talents and strengths of the cast and director ensured that this was achieved. –Enid Cooper – NODA Reviewer – September 2012
A group of extraordinary women, members of a very ordinary Yorkshire WI, spark a global phenomenon by persuading one another to pose for a charity calendar with a difference! As interest snowballs, the CALENDAR GIRLS find themselves revealing more than they’d ever planned…
Chris – Donna Bright
Celia – Louisa Hewitt
Annie – Emmeline Lyster
Rod – Don Mckay
Brenda – Christine Suggars
Lawrence – Adam Hillier
Elaine – Charli Evens
Marie – Maxine Evans
Lady Cravenshire – Peggy Maggs
John – Simon Ockenden
Cora – Lynda Collins
Liam – Brett Nunn
Ruth – Alexa Hardy
Jessie – Gill Broome
Director – Glenys Shaw
Producer – Richard Fitt
Publicity Manager – Allan Dixon
Music – Rowan Marshall & Simon Ockenden
Stage Manager – Katie Hammond
Set Design – Don McKay
Sound – Tim Powers & Alex Smalley
Lighting – Martin Inward
Properties – Val Corrigan & Lauren Bachman
Programme – Christine Suggars
Photography – Peter Constable & Christine Suggars
Front of House Manager – Abbie Miles
Front of House Team – Members of VAMPS and St Neots Players
Box Office – Richard Fitt, Maxine Evans and The Priory Centre
Calendar Girls is the play, adapted by Colin Firth, from his own film of the same name. The film was a tremendous success. Therefore it is somewhat of a challenge for any amateur group; the impact of the film, the unique novelty of the nudity, the bravery of any cast in replicating this performance and the link to leukemia research, all create quite exceptional conditions in which to stage a performance.
St Neots Players were fortunate in having a strong cast. The six women who were the calendar girls gave confident, convincing performances. These were six well drawn characters working skillfully as a group and distinctly as individual characters. Emmeline Lyster was entirely believable and demonstrated effectively the range of emotions experienced by Annie. She was well matched with Simon Ockenden as her husband John. This was another first rate performance. John’s decline in health but indomitable spirit was portrayed very potently in this telling performance. Donna Bright as Chris was another strong performance, showing how Chris fell under the spell of world wide acclaim to the detriment of family and friends. In this Don Mckay as her husband Rod, provided the normality which was an effective contrast to Chris’ conduct. Lynda Collins’ performance as Cora was a good contrast to the other ladies. Here was a free spirit of the past, invigorated by the present. Similarly Gill Broome as Jessie, gave us so many glimpses of the independent and free thinking spirit of the retired teacher. Gill delivered lines well and brought much humour to the play. Alexa Hardy as Ruth and Louisa Hewitt as Celia, both added more dimensions to the plot. As the play unfolded we discovered more about these two characters and our understanding enriched the play.
Maxine Evans as Marie was excellent. Here was a character we should have disliked, the foil to the other ladies, and it could have degenerated into a stereotype. However Maxine ensured this did not happen. Maxine gave us a very believable character, demonstrating strengths and weaknesses so that it became a sympathetic portrayal. Maxine injected much humour into the play, her facial expressions and line delivery were first rate. Adam Hillier as Lawrence gave a very good performance as the nervous photographer. He captured the awkwardness of the moment of photography perfectly.
Glenys had given this production much thought. A simple set, effective lighting and musical intervals in particular were carefully chosen and added to the mood of the piece. The pace was somewhat measured at first but was more varied as the play progressed. The photography scene was excellent, well directed with precise and imaginative placing of five women.
This play and the plot are so familiar to the audience, that the director had to work doubly hard to ‘suspend disbelief’ and present a fresh interpretation to the audience. The talents and strengths of the cast and director ensured that this was achieved.