Friday, 3 April 2015

'Made in Dagenham' Adelphi Theatre ****

The Women’s Rights Movement is a crusade that is still on going, and during the 1960’s in the United Kingdom an unambiguous group of women decided to campaign for equal pay. The stage musical of, ‘Made in Dagenham’ by Richard Bean with music by David Arnold and lyrics by Richard Thomas was one that’s very commanding and the performances were hugely distinctive.

‘Made in Dagenham’ is set at the Dagenham Ford factory where there’s a colossal difference between the pay that the woman receives compared to the man’s pay, in addition, the woman’s wage is being deducted as they’re apparently “unskilled”. Understandably, this causes uproar between Connie, Rita O’Grady, Sandra (Sophie Isaacs), Clair (Heather Cranley) and Beryl (Sophie Stanton) and the rest of the women who work in the factory.  The women’s male representative, Monty (David Carly) attempts to resolve the issue with male dominated management, but this does not happen, and this instigates further unrest where the women decide to begin a protest against the Ford factory and the TUC. Rita O’Grady, her husband, Eddie and her two children, Graham and Sharon are facing their own personal difficulties as Graham’s Latin teacher is tormenting him as he is a scholarship student, and when Rita is acquainted with follow school mother, Lisa Hopkins (Naomi Frederick) a historian, she makes it clear that she must be involved in manufacturing progress and funnily enough her son is be persecuted too. Unfortunately, the current Prime Minister, Harold Wilson (Mark Hadfield) is a dishonourable person who is taking money from the Ford co-operation and is a severe male chauvinist. He promotes Barbara Castle (Sophie-Louise Dann) to keep the women quiet. As the protest is advancing, this causes problems with Rita and Eddie’s marriage and as such Eddie decided to leave Rita with their children along with him.  When Lisa states that Rita must continue to stand for her equal pay campaign, Rita does what she’s asked. Rita is informed that that Connie is suffering with inoperable cancer. Rita soon speaks at the TUC congress and there’s pleasing results as there’s unanimous serge of yes votes for the equal pay issue. Bean’s narrative along with Arnold and Thomas’ music and lyrics are magnificent as the adaptation of the 2010 film does work wonders within a theatrical form and educates us on the splendid contribution the woman plays in society. Furthermore, there are likable musical numbers such as; “Made in Dagenham”, “Everybody Out”, “The Letter” and “Stand Up”.

One found the performance by the company of, ‘Made in Dagenham’ to be the peak of creativity through imposing vocals and movements over the entire show. Gemma Arterton is fabulous as the lady fighting for the women’s rights, Rita O’Grady; in particular when she penalises Ford’s management for their sexist remarks and asserts that it is time for the woman to earn the same wage as the man. Isla Blair is outstanding as the sort of leader of the women’s floor, Connie; explicitly when you see a slight romance between herself and Monty and she lets Rita know that there could have been a marriage years before.  Adrian Der Geordian is miraculous as Rita’s husband, Rita; for example when he explains to his wife that her campaigning has caused a wedge between them both and that their marriage could be at an end if she does not stop fighting for women’s rights.

Rupert Goold’s direction, accompanied by Aletta Collins’ choreography is phenomenal here as we are witnessing the trials and tribulations of a group of women who will soon make British history, and the tenacity and ease of the characterisations are comprehensive which means there’s a fruitful level of communication between the whole team. Bunny Christie’s designs are unbelievable as I was engrossed to how precise the factory looked and the room at the Houses of Parliament, it is no surprise that Christie designed this set and the swinging sixties vibrant costumes. Overall, the experience of, ‘Made in Dagenham’ is a transfixing one that makes you aware of what these women did for society.   

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