CALENDAR Girls The Musical can be compared to a sunflower - it is a happy sight to behold, its popularity has stood the test of time and it is something that grows from seed into a symbol of love, writes Suzanne Kendrick.

Written by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, the award winning production bounced on to stage at Venue Cymru, Llandudno, on Tuesday night with the opening number 'One more year in Yorkshire’.

The spectacular scenery immediately catches the eye, made up of rolling hills and an ever-changing sky. Simple but incredibly effective.

Standing in front of the backdrop, among the cast members, are couple John 'the sunflower man' (Phil Corbitt) and Annie (Anna-Jane Casey) - who become the focus of the story. The production is of course based on the very human and true story about a group of ladies from the WI who bare all to raise money for charity after one of their members loses lo her husband to cancer.

Annie’s best friend Chris (Rebecca Storm), a somewhat reluctant member of the WI, suggests to Annie they raise money to buy a couch for the relatives room at the hospital in John’s name.

Chris, known for her ‘bad’ ideas, pitches a notion - to make a cheeky nude calendar - which is first met with apprehension by the WI ladies.

The audience learns a great deal about the women - their backgrounds, how Chris met her partner, how Annie met her beloved John, their fears and what makes them tick.

There is laughter but also sadness - Casey sings with such rawness in her voice following the loss of her husband but there is also joy as Celia (Denise Welsh) admits she has had ‘a little work done’ and Ruth (Sara Crowe), who feels she can’t bare to flash the flesh, grows in confidence when she meets a Russian - in fact, a bottle of vodka!

The musical score narrates the tale so well, every song is on point and treats a sensitive subject with such means.

The wit is also there in all its glory. With comments such as an alternative suggestion of a calendar put forward by Jessie (Ruth Madoc) - one of George Clooney “Fully clothed until December when you lift the flap” and “If Jesus had teenage kids, the bible would have been very different”. Cora (Karen Dunbar) is a delight with her 'what-we-are all thinking' remarks.

Marie (Fern Britton) oozes independence and plays the bossy and disapproving WI chair so well. Her defiant young daughter Jenny (Isabel Caswell) wows with outstanding singing voice and is part of a comedy sub-plot with youngsters Tommo (Tyler Dobbs) and Danny (Danny Howker).

In a nod to John, the musical ends with the warming hue of sunflowers.

The stage is covered in the gentle flowers and the couch, bought through money made through the calendar - stands there in all its superbness and it is, of course, covered in sunflowers.

Calendar Girls The Musical will run at Venue Cymru until Saturday, October 27. For tickets visit or telephone the box office 01492 872000.