Review: Allen Contemporary Theater enchants with a hilarious and heartfelt production of CALENDAR GIRLS


Calendar Girls

By Juliette Towhidi and Tim Firth
Directed by Kathleen Vaught
Produced by Allen Contemporary Theatre

Reviewed by Grant Palmore

Gerd your loins and mark your schedule! An enchanting and emotional production of Calendar Girls is playing at Allen Contemporary Theater, and you do not want to miss it!

Calendar Girls, adapted from the 2003 British film of the same name, follows a group of women in Yorkshire through their laughter, love and loss. Annie and Chris are chief mischief-makers at their local branch of the Women’s Institute – more for camaraderie than their interest in lady-specific activities (Played by Molly Bower and Megan Tormey respectively). Everything seems normal until Annie’s husband John (played by Chirs Berthelot) receives a terminal cancer diagnosis. When Annie faces a consequent funding challenge, Chris hatches a plan for the members of their W.I. to pose in a nude calendar to raise money — hindrances and hilarity ensue!

The cast boasts a wealth of talented individuals. Tormey and Bower are full of fun in their quick-witted banter together as friends and formidable in their emotional scenes. Bower and Berthelot have easy chemistry, and their strong bond supports the show’s entire orbit. The rest of the W.I. hosts a variety of quirky characters: Marie (played by Kim White) the group’s pretentious president, Ruth (played by Gena Graham) sweet-natured wall flower, Cora (played by Laura Powers) single-mother church pianist, Jessie (played by Terry Ann Watts) wisecracking jokester, Celia (played by Jenny Wood) their new saucy recruit. While each member of the cast individually entertaining, their collaboration together onstage is captivating.

Allen Contemporary Theater has assembled a special and moving production under the direction of Kathleen Vaught. The set depicts a charming church interior that can transform and give way to lovely immersive projections (Set Design by Abby Kipp Roberts, Props Design by Nancy Cecco). And a special note of praise for intimacy coordination and costuming for this show, particularly during the calendar shoot — that challenge was handled deftly and produced hilarious results (Intimacy Coordination by Claire Fountain, Costume Design by Shanna Gobin).

Calendar Girls plays at Allen Contemporary Theater from Friday, January 26 - Sunday, February 11, in Allen, Texas. Get your tickets today!

Audience Rating: PG13 (Strong language, sexual innuendo, simulated female nudity)

Run Time: 2 hours, 15 minute intermission

Accessible Seating: Available 

Hearing Devices: Not available

Sensory Friendly Performance: Not Available

Production Sound Level: Comfortable volume level 

Noises or Visuals to Prepare For: No noise or visuals of concern

Check it out!

Grant Palmore