Judith La Forest is the director and will be playing Chris in Calendar Girls later this month.
Judith La Forest is the director and will be playing Chris in Calendar Girls later this month. Robyne Cuerel

Z-PAC production of Calendar Girls looking the goods

OPINION: Angela Baker, whose husband John's death from cancer was the trigger for the events that inspired the Touchstone Movie and the subsequent play Calendar Girls, once said "We didn't do the calendar because we wanted to be famous".

The calendar, for those who came in late, portrayed 11 Yorkshire ladies, literally from the middle ages and a few years either side, revealing feminine assets that are not usually the province of the masculine eye.

However, with names changed and captured by Hollywood and the Stage, Mrs Baker and her Women's Institute Calendar has fame in abundance and in the process gave the rest of us lots of laughs and a poignant reminder of human kindness.

All this needed to be said before I comment on the current production of Calendar Girls by Hervey Bay's Z-PAC Theatre, because the play begs for a homely treatment: one where we may believe that, given the same circumstances, a similar group of women anywhere would have done the same.

Even with four weeks to opening night and reviewing only the first act it's obvious to me that director Judith La Forrest is delivering the goods.

With a group of equally savvy actors and through a clever Yorkshire-Comic script there's a plainly told yarn bathed in heart rending poignancy.

The script is fast moving, with short scenes and clipped repartee, so audience interest is never lost and, to concentrate the tale the 11 ladies who appeared in the original calendar are cut to six for the play.

The story is predictable enough, not the least because of its familiarity, but that is part of its charm which, in any case, is assuaged by comedy and emotion delivered superbly by Jack McKeown.

All the cast of 13 are talented and experienced, and there is a welcome return to the Z-PAC stage of many, including Tiaro's Janene Sweetnam.

Yes - there are four men's roles - fully clothed throughout - sorry girls.

The show is opening with two Brolga performances in August.

Part of the proceeds from the perfomances will be donated to Cancer Research.



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