Bournemouth and Boscombe Light Opera Company [BBLOC] Bournemouth Pavilion, Bournemouth
Chelsea Ball 5 April 2023
We’ve all become used to seeing stage adaptions of popular films in recent years, and we love to see musical versions of some of our favourite characters come to life in the theatre. It adds a completely different challenge when a show was not only a very popular film with an excellent cast, but is also based on the true life events of the loss of a woman’s husband. In the case of tackling the Calendar Girls, this adds a need for a level of sensitivity and care, which I believe that BBLOC have met with aplomb.
Calendar Girls is not the all singing, all dancing spectacle that we have become used to seeing BBLOC tackle over the years. This musical is deeply emotional, with all of the characters exploring their own issues and insecurities very beautifully throughout. With this in mind, during the show, it did beg the question of whether the Pavilion was the right setting to enable all of the audience members to have the same experience of seeing and feeling the emotions, and in some cases, humour of the characters. To any potential audience members, if you are going to see this musical, I recommend trying to sit as close to the front as possible to have the best experience.
This show is wholly reliant on an incredibly strong cast, and there are certainly no concerns on that score! In the leading roles of Chris and Annie, Sally Wheeler and Rachel Fordslike were both excellent. They both delivered their respective characters beautifully, and each held their own during their solo performances.
Emma Wogan was perfect in the role of the well-to-do ex-air hostess, Celia. She was a lot of fun to watch and had the audience chuckling. Speaking of humour, Jane Kerfoot as Jessie also had some excellent lines which were delivered with a lot of skill and I loved watching her onstage.
Kim Fletcher as Cora, the vicar’s daughter, gave a great range of emotions in her demonstration of tackling the stigma of single motherhood. She also had a really lovely way with her on-stage son. As Ruth, Jo Uzzell showed us a lovely character arc, from a perfect housewife to a woman embracing herself and her freedom. Completely believable and relatable.
All of the leading women were fantastic throughout and I can’t praise them enough for their performances and their bravery! The rest of the cast were also fabulous, without a single weak link. There were so many fabulous performances that it’s very difficult to point them all out individually. I do, however, wish to send kudos to Debbie Burns and Fiona Thomson who were also brave enough to bare for the calendars. I don’t know how you girls did it… but wow!
I wish BBLOC the very best with the rest of their run. Calendar Girls will be at the Pavilion until 8 April.