Calendar Girls is a smash hit:
THE FRONT ROW: Calendar Girls premiers in U.S. at Ivoryton Playhouse
By Brooks Appelbaum
Special to the Times
To read the whole review in the Shoreline Times, please follow this link: http://shorelinetimes.com/articles/2015/06/08/life/doc5575e2765ff32008268896.txt
“Any production of Calendar Girls depends on the talents of the “calendar girls” themselves, and on their rapport with each other as an ensemble. Here, Hubbard succeeds without a doubt. She is a waiflike and vulnerable Annie. As Cora, the rebellious vicar’s daughter and church organist, Maria Silverman expertly conveys a woman who hides a keen sorrow under her outrageous antics. Beverley J. Taylor (also Ivoryton’s Company Manager) shines as Chris, an Amazonian beauty who has the brassy bravery to match. As Jessie, the groups’ oldest and wisest and, arguably, wittiest member, Maggie McGlone-Jennings is not only spot on, but inspirational — to her onstage friends, and to every woman in the audience as well. Celia is forced to play golf all day if she wants to lay eyes on her golf crazy husband: as played by the majestic and mischievous Katrina Ferguson, Celia’s explosion of contempt for the snooty etiquette of the golfing set is one of the high moments in the show. And finally, Lily Dorment is a winning, touching Ruth: when she finally stands up for herself, you want to cheer……..”
Regional Reviews by Zander Opper
Tim Firth’s Calendar Girls, based on the 2003 film and currently making its U.S. debut at Ivoryton Playhouse, is a delightful, frequently hilarious lark of a play that is a real treat to watch. The plot concerns a group of middle-aged British women who decide to raise money by appearing in a highly risqué calendar, which leads to all sorts of unexpected results. Calendar Girls has been exceedingly well cast, with each of the six leading ladies getting a chance to shine. There is also an undercurrent of sorrow beneath the laughs that adds an extra dimension and gives the show real heart.
That element of sadness concerns one of the women’s husbands (nicely played by R. Bruce Connelly) developing cancer. Indeed, this proves to be the catalyst for this group of ladies deciding to pose for the calendar to raise money. I am loath to reveal any more of the plot other than to say that it takes off in all sorts of humorous directions.
One of the real joys of Calendar Girls is watching the marvelous performances of the six actresses at the center of the show. As Annie, the wife of the character who develops cancer, Jacqueline Hubbard gives a multi-shaded portrayal, mixing melancholy with bursts of joy. It should be mentioned that Jacqueline Hubbard is not only the Artistic Director of Ivoryton Playhouse, but also the director of Calendar Girls. She acquits herself quite well both as an actress and as the director of this production.
As the spiciest character in the play, Celia, Katrina Ferguson is a real live wire and generates some of the biggest laughs. I saw Katrina Ferguson play the buttoned up Lady Bracknell in a recent production of The Importance of Being Earnest and it is a delicious pleasure to watch her in such a sassy, sexy role. Also shining brightly are Beverley J. Taylor as the fun-loving Chris, who comes up with the idea of doing the calendar, and Lily Dorment, who displays terrific range as Ruth, a woman who goes from inhibited to adventurous.
Rounding out the group of women, Maria Silverman is a great deal of fun as Cora, who wins laughs with an unexpected tattoo. As the oldest character in the show, Jessie, the terrific Maggie McGlone Jennings is a real scream, displaying deadpan looks that threaten to stop (and steal) the show. The other performers do equally fine work (notably Victoria Bundonis as Marie and David Edwards as one of the husbands) but, ultimately, this play really belongs to the six leading ladies.
Calendar Girls is an often deliriously funny show. This is a play that truly gets funnier as it goes along. Still, even amongst all the laughter, one really comes to care for these six women, and it is their camaraderie as a group, as well as their noble effort to raise money for a good cause, that illuminates the play. Calendar Girls at Ivoryton Playhouse proves to be an extremely enjoyable show and, as such, is most highly recommended—but don’t be surprised if you find yourself wiping away a tear even as you laugh.
Calendar Girls continues performances at Ivoryton Playhouse in Ivoryton, CT through June 21, 2015. For tickets, please visit www.ivorytonplayhouse.org or call the box office at (860) 767-7318.
Don Church and Anthony Schillaci
Critics on the Aisle
“…….. Jacqui Hubbard, Artistic/Executive Director of the Ivoryton Playhouse, heads the production with skillful blocking and brings out the best in each actor. She is also wonderfully poignant and mischievous in the role of Annie, who loses her husband John (sympathetically played by R. Bruce Connelly) to cancer. Ivoryton’s Company Manager Beverley Taylor gives a hilarious performance in the role of Chris – somewhat the instigating ‘leader of the pack’ who will shed her clothes at the drop of a towel. Ms. Taylor lights up the stage with her luminous personality and perfect comic timing in every scene.”
To read the whole review follow this link:
More than Months in a Calendar
By Geary Danihy