Calendar Girls the Musical bares (quite literally) all the ingredients of a true Victoria sponge: a fluffy mixture of warmth and substance, a sweet taste of humour and the stripped-back tradition that resonates with all Women’s Institutes.

Baring heart, soul, and a surprising amount of flesh, the musical comedy of Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, received tears of joy, sadness, and wall to wall laughter in a recipe book storyline of emotions.

As the inspirational true story unfolds on the New Theatre stage it follows the original tragic tale of Annie, played expertly by Anna-Jane Casey, losing her husband John to cancer.

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It’s a story perfectly summed up within ‘A year in Yorkshire’ – filled with mind-numbing WI meetings, village fetes and, for Annie and John, hospital appointments.

Laughter is rife straight from the get go, from the broccoli-themed WI meetings, to the humourous outlook on John’s cancer treatment.

At first glance, you could be forgiven for getting sucked into the slightly dated 1950s impression of the housewives in Yorkshire.

But, despite often being the butt (again literally) of the joke, the women of the Knapely WI find the perfect way of turning tradition on its head – a naked calendar.

Annie and best friend Chris, played convincingly by Rebecca Storm, seek to fund a settee for the local hospital’s relatives’ room. Of course, the women of the WI take some convincing but the heartening motivation (plus a little vodka for some) gets the girls all lined and willing to bare all.

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The line: “We are going to need considerably bigger buns” was coupled with screams of laughter as the popular Denise Welch bared all first behind a trolley of cakes.

One by one the women work their way through the calendar shoot using knitting, Jerusalem-playing pianos, and flowers to hide (somewhat) their modesty. It quickly becomes a celebration of women, all ages, and the perfect inspiration of empowerment.

The show, which runs in Oxford until Saturday, finished with a rousing standing ovation and rightly so. 5/5