The rights and equality of pay for women have been very much in the national press recently, so this was a fantastic choice of musical for RMDS’s spring production. Taken from the very popular film, the Made in Dagenham musical score is a mixed bag of poignant, reflective ballads and catchier, upbeat tunes that take us right through the real-life story of the sewing machinists’ strike at the Ford factory in Dagenham, Essex.
The musical focuses on the leader of the strike, Rita O’ Grady, played expertly by Jo Dey. The vulnerability of the character is played to perfection throughout, helped by Jo’s fantastic voice. She is well supported by Charlie Daniels as husband Eddie O’Grady, whose rendition of ‘The letter’ in the second half is a memorable moment.
There are also stand-out performances by Anna Wallis as Beryl and Caroline Cane-Richardson as Barbara Castle, but the whole cast and crew should be very proud of what was an excellent performance.
There is very little to criticise in what is, at times, a West End standard show. The lighting was patchy in places and sometimes the sound balance between the orchestra and the spoken word was not 100% but these are minor complaints when everything else about Chris Grant’s production is absolutely first-rate. The set is fantastic and every inch of the stage is used in a very creative and engaging way. The costumes are also well thought through and really create the atmosphere of the late 1960s.
This excellent production is one of the best I have seen by an amateur group for some time. It is very clear that RMDS are a strong group, well organised and, in this case, very well directed in both the acting and music. They are positioning themselves as one of the best amateur musical groups in the Scene One area. Don’t miss out on a first-class theatrical experience: if I was not busy the rest of this week, I would definitely buy a ticket and go and see it again!
Made in Dagenham runs until 14 April at 7.30, with a matinée on the 14th at 2.00, and there are still tickets available!