Tuesday, February 9, 2016

theatre review - CALENDAR GIRLS - Phoenix Theatre - January 23, 2016

Elyse Wolf, Shari Watts
photo: Erin Evangeline Photography

Click here for more information on this production that runs through February 7th.

"The 2003 British comedy film Calendar Girls was a big hit at the box office. Based on the true story of a group of women in Northern England who seductively pose for a nude calendar to raise funds for Leukemia Research, the movie was adapted into a play and Phoenix Theatre presents the Arizona premiere with a superb cast of some of the top actresses in the Valley....... there is minimal drama beyond Chris' butting heads with Marie and some minor confrontations and misunderstandings among the women. And, while the comical moments work best, the dramatic ones lose a little impact without the benefits of film close-ups. Fortunately, Phoenix Theatre's cast is top drawer featuring the cream of the crop of the Valley's "mature" actresses, plus a stellar turn by newcomer to the area Elyse Wolf, who plays Chris. Wolf and Shari Watts, as Annie, form a realistic pair of best friends. Wolf has great comedic timing while Watts gives a lovely, assured delivery in the sensitive moments of the play. Johanna Carlisle, Patti Davis, Cathy Dresbach, and Debra K. Stevens round out the main female roles, with each delivering well thought out characters with some depth, even though the script doesn't always give them much to play off of...Director EE Moe achieves a fast-paced production and derives well balanced performances from her entire cast, letting the comedy shine bright but not overstepping the emotion at the core of the story. The nude scenes are discreetly staged but also delivered with hilarious results....While the theatrical version of Calendar Girls adds very little to the joys of the film, it does result, like the movie, in a heartwarming and moving affair. And seeing some of the best actresses in town having a field day, baring both their hearts and their bodies, is a joyous enough reason to pay them a visit."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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