"Yorkshire Ladies lose their inhibitions"
by Michael Gray for remotegoat on 21/06/13

Tim Firth's play of 2008 – and the calendar of 2000 – have returned to their charitable, community roots, with over 500 amateur groups fighting for a chance to perform it, raising money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and aiming for the Guinness Book of Records.
Ad Hoc packed the Brentwood Theatre for their version, directed by Wendi Sheard. The set combined Village Hall and a hill in the Yorkshire Dales, and the large cast clearly enjoyed telling the now familiar story of the W.I. women who bared all to buy a settee for their local cancer ward.
None more than the giggly school-friends [Shealagh Dennis and Pam Shrimpton] who between them set up the fundraising scheme and see it through to fruition. Chloe Lewis-Brooks made a lovely loud lush, bane of the Golf Club, and Sharon Sims lit up the stage with her brassy Cora.
Each of the ladies has a back-story, some hilarious lines, and carefully crafted speeches. A snappier pace, better projection and a more confident approach would have made the evening more enjoyable. And the crucial photo-shoot, while ingenious, struggled to convince, with no tripod, flash and desperately deployed reflectors. Clever use of props, though – knitting for schoolmistress Jessie [Debbie Shears], conserves for Ruth [Susie Purkiss] and barely adequate buns for Celia ...
In addition to a percentage of the ticket price, there was an enterprising calendar, featuring tasteful shots of these plucky calendar girls in all their glory.

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