A triumph for the Calendar Girls

Portchester Players are putting on Calendar Girls
Portchester Players are putting on Calendar Girls
Sarah Earnshaw as Betty and Joe Pasquale as Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do 'Av 'Em. Picture by Scott Rylander

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Calendar Girls

Ashcroft Arts Centre

IT’S Portchester Players in the flesh, throwing caution and underwear to the wind in a production that never sags.

Six brave ladies head a fine cast in this heartwarming tale of courage and camaraderie challenging the jam-and-Jerusalem propriety of a village WI group.

Millions know the film but now am-dram groups across the UK are revelling in their chance to share in the life-affirming drama of the world-famous Calendar Girls who spawned countless nude imitators.

Teresa Murphy and Jacqueline Arnott shine as best friends rocked when a husband, John, subtly played by Graham Robertson, is lost to cancer.

His passing is movingly handled, and the WI ladies shun plans for a memorial fund-raising calendar featuring Yorkshire bridges in favour of something more daring...

Great use is made of music, lighting, sound effects, and especially props, as the ladies teasingly disrobe to great comic effect.

A wonderful ensemble effort ensues, the dialogue sharp, funny, but often moving and tenderly handled as individual stories emerge, friendships are threatened and we reach the sunlit uplands of an inspiring climax.

A triumph in the intimate setting of the Ashcroft. Not a bum moment, with the only boobs being deliberate.