Calendar Girls strut into Grand Canal

Posted on January 12, 2011


Perhaps February isn’t the wisest month for people to be stripping off in Ireland but we have been assured the Grand Canal Theatre is cranking up the heat for the arrival of British Hit show, Calendar Girls. The show has become the most successful play ever to tour the UK and has taken in more at the box office than the original film did. And it’s stopping off at Grand Canal, its final destination before the amateur rights are released in 2012.


Totally Dublin spoke to Bruno Langley (Coronation Street) about the show and his role in it.



Could you tell us a bit about the show?

The show is about a group of women in the Women’s Institute in the Yorkshire Dales. One of the women’s husband dies from cancer and so they decide that the want to raise money to buy a new settee for the cancer ward in the local hospital. So they want to do a calendar but because they want to raise enough money, they decide that rather than have photographs of churches and bridges, they decide that they’ll take some of their clothes off instead.



And what about the character you play?

I play two characters. And they’re two very different characters. I play Laurence, who is the photographer that takes photos of the women for the calendar. And then I also play Liam, an advertising executive who tries to lure the women away to become the faces of soap commercials.



It’s a very different role for the female cast. How are they finding the unclothed scenes?

I thought about taking my own clothes off, it might make the girls feel more comfortable with having to do it but I decided against it. Their sense of humour might not be the same as mine!


We’re in rehearsal at the moment so nobody is stripping just yet. A few days before opening, we’ll run the show as it will be seen on the night. I think it is quite nerve wracking for them, but it’s also something different and probably quite liberating after they’ve done it once, it gets easier. For the audience, it’s all done quite tastefully, I probably see more than the audience do. Of course if a prop goes wrong anywhere you’ll see a bit more than you’re supposed to!



What is it about the show, do you think, that people find endearing? It’s been hugely popular. Why do people like it so much?

Well, I think the core subject is quite sad. Cancer is so prominent in our society today. But I think the show brings everyone together and even though it is quite sad, people go away at the end of the show and they’re happy, they’re upbeat. And I think with everything that’s going on in the world at the moment, it’s important for shows to do that.



In your own career then, you’ve tried your hand at most areas of performing arts, particularly know for TV roles as we all know, which area do you prefer, stage or screen?

Well, I suppose my job really is as an actor, whether that’s on screen or on stage. So I go to a lot of auditions for parts I like. I try to vary what I do, I’ve worked in all areas: stage, TV, musicals, I’ve done a little bit of film. I’ve been doing theatre for a while now so I would love to do some TV again soon, just for a change of scenery.



Coming back to the show then, it’s obviously been very popular as a film, how does the stage version vary from the film?

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve seen the film. There’ll obviously be differences in the stage version. The cast changes every so often and every time the cast changes, the script is changed slightly in order to keep it fresh and new. You know, there might be a line here or there that’s changed since the last time you’d seen it. But the core essence of the show stays the same and I think that’s what people like about it.



Calendar Girls opens in Grand Canal Theatre on 7th February. Tickets available now through Ticketmaster.