I've been waiting for Made in Dagenham The Musical to open at the Adelphi Theatre for a very long time now, and because Made In Dagenham is my all time favourite non-musical movie as well, I've been waiting with very high hopes. So, as soon as ticket sales opened up, I booked to go to the first Saturday evening after the official opening (I hate previews) to finally quench my thirst for the show, and was pleasantly very satisfied!
There are three main things that strike you as outstanding from the off: firstly, the outstanding cast. I don’t remember the last time I saw a show that had such a strong, well rounded and truly talented cast of both leads and ensemble members. Gemma Arterton shines bright as leading lady Rita O’Grady and, especially considering she hasn’t been seen as a musical theatre actress until now, she has an incredible voice, as do all of the other cast members. Portraying such a difficult time and struggle is something that is naturally a challenge for the actors, but they are all superb and not a single actor can be faulted.
Equally as impressive was the set design by Bunny Christie (but what can you expect after the talented lady has designed sets for shows such as The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night Time?) From the opening when the lights go down and the interior of the house can be seen through the curtain, to the amazing Ford workshop and sewing machine complex, the show is just as visually stunning as it is aurally stunning...
Talking of being aurally stunning, the real stand out for me was the incredible music that David Arnold created for the show, along with the humorous lyrics by Richard Thomas. I’d only heard three of the amazing songs on the show’s website that they released for free download a few months back and the rest of the score performed on stage did not let me down. Numbers like “Everybody Out” and “Stand Up” had me in goosebumps all over by how striking they were, whereas numbers like “The Letter” and the amazingly stunning “Storm Clouds” almost had me in tears.
The only criticisms I have with the show though are from the perspective of the book (which isn’t a surprise I suppose considering how much I adore the original movie). The random use of the Americans seemed a bit irrelevant to both me and my friend Verity, as we struggled to fathom how this big (and totally pointless) joke was spun into a few scenes and the opening sequence for the second act. Regardless, it didn’t ruin the show for me, and I just took it as something that maybe only I saw a flaw in.
Overall, it’s safe to say that I am more than happy with the end result of this Made In Dagenham West End adaptation and am so glad to see my favourite non-musical movie become a hit West End show that is both inspiring and thoroughly enjoyable. If you haven’t booked your Made in Dagenham tickets yet, be sure to book them as soon as possible (I’m already booked to be going back again in five weeks!), and if you have already seen the show, what did you think? Tweet me with your thoughts!
Reviewed by Shaun Nolan
Made In Dagenham is booking at the Adelphi Theatre until 28 March, 2015. Don't miss Gemma Aterton's stunning West End debut, book your Made In Dagenham tickets now!