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Wednesday 12th of December 2018
Rachel Morgan 4th of April 2013 by editor 4th of April 2013
Las chicas del calendario: Carmen Esteban
A wonderful, stripped-down performance

Rachel Morgan attends the first night of Las chicas del calendario (Calendar Girls) at the Sala Roca of Los Teatros del Canal

If you come from a matriarchal family with strong female figures, Las chicas del calendario, under the direction of Antonio Calvo, will draw you in by making you feel as though you are hanging out with your favourite sassy aunts—cracking jokes, talking crudely and drinking white wine.  The play is a Spanish interpretation of the English blockbuster film Calendar Girls (2003), and just like the movie, it genuinely captures a feisty feminine spirit.

            It is, however, far from a “just-for-ladies” performance. Based on a true story,  it follows the leading players—Chris (Beatriz Carvajal) and Annie (Asunción Balaguer)—as they create a unusual way of raising money for leukemia research after Annie’s husband loses his fight against cancer. Instead of regular fundraising activities, they eventually decide to run with the idea of creating a glossy calendar with semi-nude photos of themselves and four of their middle-aged friends. While many obstacles stand in their way, they push ahead, and together form a sturdy support system.

            The audience’s attention is immediately engaged from outset, when the curtain opens on the group of women singing and practicing tai chi. The ladies starkly look us in the face as they complete their exercises, perhaps foreshadowing the way they will later become vulnerable when posing nude for their calendar. The rose-sprinkled wallpaper and the broad setting of the opening invite everyone into a life that feels familiar and warm. In a later scene, the chicas participate in an Easter baking contest, with the winner accepting their prize on a mini-stage. It allows the audience to almost become appreciative fellow competitors, participating in the story, and bringing a greater personal exposure to their quest.

            With warm and goofy personalities, the talented cast break through the fourth wall and reach out. Never have I felt so encompassed in a theatre performance, and Las chicas del calendario is recommended for anyone who wants to undertake an incredible journey, feel part of a strong, maternal family, and enjoy a night of uplifting entertainment.

Las chicas del calendario stars BeatrizCarvajal, María Garralón, Asunción Balaguer, Soledad Mayol, Berta Ojea andCarmen Esteban. Teatros del Canal, C/Cea Bermúdez, 1 (Metro: Canal). Tel: 91 308 99 99.Tickets ( from €19. Tues-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 6pm and 9.30pm; Sun,6.30pm. 3-28 April. In Spanish; a reasonably strong level may be required.

Further information & Map: Teatros del Canal

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Great review...

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You captured it perfectly... great pelicula...