Calendar Girls delights

Robyn Ryan (left) and fellow Calendar Girls cast members. Photo supplied by Julie Collins Photo-Film
Robyn Ryan (left) and fellow Calendar Girls cast members. Photo supplied by Julie Collins Photo-Film

Tears, laughter and a dose of tasteful nudity feature in the gutsy production of Calendar Girls, underpinned by the talents of local theatre legends Robyn Ryan and Leonie Walsh.

The Sunnybank Theatre Group production continues until 26 November.

Story continues, below

Tim Firth’s hilarious play, directed by Tabooba’s Leonie Walsh, is based on the true story of eleven middle aged Women’s Institute (WI) members from Yorkshire who famously posed nude for a calendar to raise money for the Leukaemia Research Fund in 1999.

Beaudesert’s Robyn Ryan stars as the suppressed Ruth, who ultimately poses nude across a table (her modesty shielded by a basket of fruit) to help raise money for the cause.

“It is such a good script with really strong roles for mature women, and it’s not often you find that,” she said.

When the Beaudesert Bulletin attended the 12 November matinee, we experienced an engaged crowd, including several supportive Beaudesert locals.

We were drawn from fits of laughter to sombre moments when the reality of cancer shared through the play hit home for each of us, in one way or another.

And then there was the nude scene (note, ‘nude not naked’) which was done very tastefully and, as one character so eloquently put it, there were, “no front bottoms”.

Calendar Girls is the fifth show Leonie has directed at Sunnybank Theatre Group and, prior to her time there, she joined BAMS Theatre in Beaudesert in 1986.

The show hits particularly close to home for both Leonie and Robyn, who lost their dear friend and fellow Beaudesert theatre talent, June Gemmell, to cancer.

“I shed a tear each night, I’ve dedicated this to June Gemmell, who we lost June to metastatic melanoma on 13 December 2020,” said Leonie.

“We were known as the three amigos in our circle. This is for her.”

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