“It’s not naked, it’s nude,” stress the ladies of Knapely W.I. as they dare to bare all in this delightful summer breeze of a play.
Like the production’s lynchpin sunflowers, Calendar Girls stands tall and blossoms with humour, poignancy and courage.
It is another deftly handled turn from the Bury St Edmunds Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society as they retell a now classic story.
For the unfamiliar, a group of friends at a Yorkshire Women’s Institute shed their clothes for an ‘alternative’ calendar to buy a hospital sofa in memory of the husband of one of their members - tragically taken by leukaemia.
The leading ladies should be commended - not only for braving to show their skin (“I wouldn’t be able to do it,” I heard a few audience members say) but for their accomplished, laugh out loud and moving performances.
Joyce Amtower as Annie offers heart wrenching emotion as the widow who just wants to raise awareness of a disease which snatched her beloved John.
Sally Donaghey is best friend and no shrinking violet Chris - managing to bring the character’s likeability to the fore as the blighted ambitions of youth drive her unhealthy thirst for the limelight.
Perhaps, the most touching story is that of shy push over Ruth (Rachelle Curtis) who discovers hidden strengths and self worth through the group’s charity efforts.
And that is the heart of the play - you’re never too old to do something different so be brave and proud of who you are.
It runs at the Theatre Royal, in Bury, until Saturday August 24.