By Tim Firth. Pymble Players. Directed by Julia Griffith. 4th – 28th October 2017
Julia Griffith and her cast of eleven have taken on the many challenges of this play with confident enthusiasm. Apart from the difficult task of manipulating the “nude” scenes for the calendar shots, there are many scenes, many props and many costume changes. At Pymble, this involves some cooperative space sharing in wings that are not easily accommodating – while still sustaining characterisation and the continuity of the play. And they manage to clear these hurdles very well.
The play is well known because of the movie and the daring women on whom it was based. Griffith describes it as “a story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, with love, for a good cause”. She sees the play as reminding us “of the strength of friendship, determination, resilience, love and hope”.
Set in a Yorkshire village, it tells the story of members of the local Women’s Institute, who decide to pose (almost) nude for a calendar in order to raise money to buy a sofa for the visitor’s room at the oncology unit of the local hospital. Playwright Tim Firth uses their individual decision-making to develop very real and recognisable characters who are funny, caring – and vulnerable.
Louise Deibe plays Chris, a bit of a rebel who only joined the Women’s Institute ….