THEATRE REVIEW: The Girls starring Michele Dotrice


WHERE: Phoenix Theatre

WHEN: 31/1, runs to 22/4

When we ask at the bar why this new musical’s soundtrack is not available to buy in the foyer we’re told it has something to do with the charity it is fundraising for. Which seems unlikely.

  • Read on for reasons including why Michele Dotrice is the best reason to see this

It’s never a good sign when you go to see a new musical and they’re not trying to flog you a permanent reminder and its unique selling point at every opportunity. Much less when it’s impossible to find in the only venue staging it.

It seems churlish to criticise The Girls, its calendar, film or play, because it has raised £5 million for charity Bloodwise, formerly Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, and, for anyone unfamiliar, is the story of Women’s Institute members who dare to bare in a saucy calendar to raise money for a charity after a friend dies.

Turning the story into a musical helmed by Take That songwriter Gary Barlow looks like a good idea on paper, it’s just, perhaps, that it’s all a little too familiar and cosy and a world away from musical theatre’s current cutting edge, arguably Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Eminem-style Hamilton.

We’d expect a more memorable score from Barlow as, although Yorkshire and Scarborough successfully set the scene, it’s only really the tongue-in-cheekery of Who Wants A Silent Night? that we can remember after first listen.

Barlow, we suspect, has better in him. His Peter Pan musical Finding Neverland has already graced Broadway and is expected here soon.

It’s a joy to see Michele Dotrice in the cast, perhaps best remembered as Frank Spencer’s long-suffering wife Betty in Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, but as recently as last year nominated for an Olivier in Nell Gwynn.

The predominantly middle-aged and female cast have a riot with the material but for us it all felt a little like a dishcloth that had perhaps been wrung out one time too many.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy The Girls – The Musical. Tickets
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham or check us out on Facebook

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.