Review of ‘Made in Dagenham’ at The Queen’s Theatre

MADE IN DAGENHAM, A MUSICAL BASED ON THE 2010 FILM WITH THE SAME NAME, RETURNS TO IT’S EAST LONDON ROOTS IN A CO-PRODUCTION BETWEEN THE QUEEN’S THEATRE AND THE NEW WOLSEY THEATRE, IPSWITCH.

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Telling the story of the Ford Sewing machinist strike of 1968, ‘Made in Dagenham’ has one of the largest cast for a Queen’s Theatre production, 21 actors/musicians. Written by Richard Bean, Music by David Arnold and Lyrics by Richard Thomas, the musical original ran on West End between November 2014-April 1015 and the whole show certainly has the feeling of a West End musical
The set was mostly quite simple and the cast and crew had scene transitions down to a key, in the background they had a large grey screen that allowed them to use actor’s shadows in certain scenes and often props would be used for multiple scenes, for example desks used in the sowing rooms and offices.

L-R Joey Hickman, Graham Kent, Steve Simmonds, Thomas Sutcliffe

All of the music was provided by the cast and on the night I meet some of the original women who were part of the 1968 strike and they said that they greatly enjoyed the cast on stage playing instruments, as is traditional in Queen’s Theatre musicals, and even went on to say they thought this made the night better than the West End performances, where the music was provided by a separate band

Rita O’Grady (played by Daniella Bowen) is the leader of the protest, central to the women’s trailblazing battle for equal pay. I felt that her and Wendy Morgan (Connie Riley) did a fantastic job of pulling on your heart strings and in the second half I had to remind myself to breathe as I held my breath waiting to find out what would happen to the characters I had grown attached to through the first half.

Behind the scenes rehearsing the regional premiere of Made in Dagenham at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch from Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch on Vimeo.

The main villain of the night was Mr Tooley, played by Jeffrey Harmer, who really hit the nail on the head when it came to the song ‘This is America’, a song I’m still finding myself singing the next day.

There is lots of laughter throughout the night, Angela Bain plays the slightly older Beryl who often left the audience in fits of laughter with her dirty jokes and any scene with Graham Kent always left the audience in fits of laughter as he played Prime Minister Harold Wilson and the stand-up comedian Chubby Chuff. There are plenty of comic references to Dagenham and the surrounding areas scattered around the musical, this is certainly a musical that can be better appreciated by those who grew up in the area, including references to Collier Row, Romford and Oldchurch Hospital.

The whole show really was a worthy the West End and I would go as far as saying it’s the best show I’ve seen at The Queen’s Theatre. I would recommend anyone in Havering and the surrounding areas take this chance to see this glimpse of history that happened just around the corner and is now being performed on our door steps

Beryl – Angela Bain
Rita O’Grady – Daniella Bowen
Gregory Hubble/Sid – Daniel Carter-Hope
Bill – Dan de Cruz
Sandra Beaumont – Sophie-May Feek
Mr Tooley – Jeffrey Harmer
Ted – Callum Harrower
Barry/Aide 2 – Joey Hickman
Monty – Anthony Hunt
Cass/Cortina Girl – Martina Isibor
Harold Wilson/Mr Buckton /Chubby Chuff – Graham Kent
Barbara Castle – Claire Machin
Connie Riley – Wendy Morgan
Mr Hopkins – Jamie Noar
Lisa Hopkins/Cortina Girl – Lorene O’Dair
Factory Girl/Cortina Girl – Elizabeth Rowe
Factory Girl/ Cortina Girl – Sioned Saunders
Clare – Sarah Scowen
Stan/Aide 3/Cortina Man – Steve Simmons
Ron Macer/Aide 1 – Thomas Sutcliffe
Eddie O’Grady – Alex Tomkins
Young Company – Noel Sullivan
Young Company – Aimee Flint
Young Company – Christian Kraus
Young Company – Paige Smith
Young Company – Teagan George
Young Company – Freddie Parker