So, a couple of weeks ago, I had a bit of a London day with my friends Jodie, Hannah and Jess. We did all the tourist spots including the Tower of London to see the poppies, St Paul’s, Notting Hill, Portbella Road, along embankment and Covent Garden, but to finish off what had been a pretty amazing day, Jodie and I decided to go and see a show!
Made in Dagenham had only been out since the Thursday before (so around 9 days) and it was pretty well promoted, so, as I work right near Dagenham and it looked like a bit of a laugh, we decided to to and grab our tickets from the Ticket Booth in Covent Garden, grab a drink and go and see the show! The plot of the film, that has developed into the musical showing at Adelphi Theatre in London, is that of a group of women fighting againist sexual discrimination and for their equal rights as skilled workers. Rita O’Grady leads the 1968 Ford Sewing Machinists Strike at Dagenham Ford’s. The strike is successful and leads to the Equal Pay Act 1970, and I can honestly say that it was so much better than I thought it would be.
It starred Gemma Arterton as the lead woman role (Rita O’Grady) and Adrian der Gregorian as leading male (Eddy O’Grady). You might know Gemma Arterton as one of the ‘radio fan girls’ from ‘The boat that rocked’ or the part of bond girl, Strawberry Fields, in ‘Quantum of Solace’. She was absolutely fantastic! I was a little bit apprehensive that she might overdo the Essex accent and end up speaking like someone from TOWIE, which would have ruined the entire thing but she didn’t. She was really accurate and as well as her acting, her singing was insanely good! The power and the emotion that she showed in her performance was spot on and she was able to switch from mother/wife to protester /fighter with real ease.
It was so strange to be watching a West End show and have links to your childhood; commenting about the A13 in one particular song (the road I drive to work every day) and mentioning the old hospital that I grew up near, which is no longer there. It was actually really lovely and I think it made me love the show even more! The production and props were also really well done and, even though there were some difficult scenes to move between, it was made to look easy and effortless. I particularly liked the Dagenham Ford set with the car parts swinging above the actors on a carousel type thing – very simple, but very clever. The finale of the show was also something that did the same thing, with Rita O’Grady standing before the audience (us) and presenting her speech to the union panel.
It was the perfect end to a lovely day and I am so glad that we chose this show. I would highly recommend it if you want to be well and truly entertained with amazingly catchy songs, a good story line and quick-wit one-liners. It was amazing and so, so funny! Book your tickets and go and see it before it is gone!
(Oh, and a quick public apology to Gemma Arterton for calling her Gemma Atkinson in my tweet after the show, to which the lead guitarist of the show retweeted it. My bad. You were awesome!)
Peace and love, Polly May xx