Made In Dagenham (2018)

Cast:

Rita O'Grady - Aimee Pendlebury

Eddie O'Grady - Callum Matthews

Beryl - Erika Speakman

Connie - Amy Gaskell

Sandra - Lucy Bache

Clare - Rebecca Fairhurst

Cass - Grace McDivitt

Jo - Saffron Livesey

Emma - Ellie Fletcher

Barry - Nathan Massam

Sid - Nathan Massam

Stan - Beth Millington

Bill - Billy Malone

Monty - Daniel Northey

Mr Hopkins - Kian Mokler

Mr Tooley - Max Tomlinson

Ron Macer - Billy Malone

Gregory Hubble - Kayleigh Fox

Harold Wilson - Kian Mokler

Barbara Castle - Emma Holland

Lisa Hopkins - Eve Wagstaff

Teacher - Samantha Innocent

Sharon O'Grady - Isla McDonald

Graham O'Grady - Jacob McDonald

Aides:

Ellie Molyneux, Rebekah Hopper, Samantha Innocent

Awards:

  • Best Supporting Female – Amy Gaskell

  • Comedy Male in a Musical – Kian Mokler

  • Lead Male in a Musical – Callum Matthews

  • Lead Female in a Musical – Aimee Pendlebury

  • Musical Director – David Wall

  • Director of a Musical – Rebecca McDonald & David Wall

  • Best Production – Made In Dagenham

NODA Review

 “Made in Dagenham” is based on the true story of the Ford female machinists who went on strike in 1968 after their jobs were re-classified as unskilled. This happened ironically when the Labour Party was in power who had the backing by the Trade Unions and during Harold Wilson’s premiership.

 

The show is based on the 2010 movie of the same name and has music written by David Arnold with lyrics by Richard Thomas and is taken from a book by Richard Bean.The story looks at the women’s battle to have their jobs regraded so they would be in line with male workers doing a similar skilled level of work. The strike and the women’s determination also paved the way for legislation on equal pay for women.

 

The show had a strong cast who produced quality performances with good acting and lovely singing, which all resulted in a very entertaining production that had very poignant moving moments as well as some very funny comedic interludes.The cast were all guided into producing their best by the talented production team of Directors David Wall and Rebecca McDonald, Musical Director David Wall and  Choreographers Rebecca McDonald, Amy Gaskell, Emma Holland, Grace McDivitt and Rebecca Fairhurst. The cast were lucky to have a well thought out superb set to perform on, which made maximum use of the stage area, and along with good applicable props added to the feel of the production.

 

There was smooth transitions between scenes which kept the pace of the show  just right and the costumes suited the era also enhancing the show, I am sure a great deal of thought and hard work must have gone into getting everything just right, so well done to all set builders and the workers backstage.The story has a strong feminist message and it has at its centre a number of spirited female characters, such as Rita O’Grady played with lots of strength and understanding by Aimee Pendlebury who was complemented very well by Callum Matthews as her loyal  and sometimes bemused husband Eddie O’Grady, who was left totally out of his comfort zone, trying to run the home and hold the family together, they both made a good believable couple. Rita initially becomes a reluctant spokesperson for the women fighting the establishment and leading the battle for equal pay for women as she takes the fight to the House of Commons with Connie the Union Shop Steward, who was sympathetically and excellently played by Amy Gaskell, there was a moment of sadness later in the production when Connie tells Rita that she’s dying of cancer and asks Rita to carry on the fight and present her speech at the TUC Conference.Rita is also accompanied and supported by a number of her friends and colleagues who were all strongly played producing very different  characters, they were Erika Speakman as comedic, feisty, tell it how it is, Beryl, who doesn’t bother about what she says and who she says it to.Then there was Rebecca Fairhurst as Clare, Grace McDivitt as Cass, and Lucy Bache as Sandra. They all meet Barbara Castle in the House of Commons, played here by Emma Holland  who produced a very good forthright  characterisation, and they also meet a very funny comical  Prime Minister Harold Wilson played by Kian Mokler who showed off his versatility by also playing plant boss Mr Hopkins.

 

Other good  interesting performances came from  Eve Wagstaff as Hopkins unhappy wife Lisa who befriends and supports Rita  in her campaign, with Daniel Northey as the Union Steward Monty and Max Tomlinson as a comical Mr Tooley the American owner of the plant, And I must mention two lovely performances from Isla McDonald  and Jacob McDonald  as Sharon and Graham, Rita and Eddie’s children. Other good performances and interesting characters were produced by the actors in the supporting and cameo roles who all worked hard with lots of energy supporting the principle cast very well, and I would like to have mentioned everyone but I don’t  want to miss anyone out.

 

The lively choreography was well executed by the cast  and dancers, especially in the full on dance production number, which took place in the scene where the management were trying to launch the new Ford Cortina against the backdrop of the strike, which all added to the performance The Orchestra  of students and their guest players led by Musical Director David Wall played with expertise  and produced a very enjoyable sound, they also supported the cast excellently. 
Sound and lighting are very important to any production and they did enhance this one, The lighting was used well, but just a constructive comment, there did appear to be some problems with interference on one or two of the microphones so along with the background noise of machines which gave authenticity to the factory setting, this did mean some of the dialogue was hard to hear at times. But well done to the sound engineers for coping with this problem.


The show ends rousingly when Rita keeps her promise and takes Connie’s place at the TUC Conference  as a speaker for  women’s rights where she literally calls for the delegates to stand up for women workers and their rights.This was an energetic, fast paced, feel good production which everybody appeared to enjoy being part off. And everyone involved should be proud and congratulated for  bringing this show to the stage as this was a very entertaining production and meaningful important story.

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All professional photographs by nickfairhurstphotographer.com