Here come the Calendar Girls!

Ruth Madoc, star of Calendar Girls. Photo contributed.
Ruth Madoc, star of Calendar Girls. Photo contributed.
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IT COMES as something of a surprise to discover that the outwardly very Welsh Ruth Madoc was actually born on the other side of the country in distant Norwich.

But, in response, she tartly observes that “like my second cousin, Lloyd George who also wasn’t born in Wales, I consider myself to be Welsh.”

Ruth has decided that her interpretation of Marie, the leader of the local branch of the WI in Tim Firth’s smash West End hit Calendar Girls, which begins a week-long run at Buxton Opera House on Monday, will have purely Yorkshire tones.

So what appealed to her about the play: “I took it because I think that Calendar Girls is a good piece of theatre and it seems to me that at the moment, women love to go to the theatre, especially if the play is about women. And Calendar Girls is precisely about relationships between women.”

Marie is a tricky character to play. There are elements of her of the straight woman, the authority figure whose personality has the effect of turning the Calendar Girls into naughty schoolchildren.

“She’s a bit of an Aunt Sally figure who’s there to be knocked down,” said Ruth. “And she’s something of a Hyacinth ‘Boo-kay’ as well, the arch-snob from Keeping Up Appearances.

“I also think that there’s a touch of Gladys Pugh from Hi-De-Hi in her, although she’s a bit more efficient than Gladys.”

Ruth is clearly enjoying being part of such a formidable company.

“It’s such a strong cast and the ladies are such strong characters in real life that I think that the whole experience will be great fun.”

Calendar Girls comes to Buxton Opera House from Monday November 19 to Saturday November 24 at 7.30pm each evening, with 2.30pm matinees on the Thursday and Saturday. Tickets, priced from £14.50 to £29.50, are available on 0845 127 2190 or at www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk.