Thursday, 8 January 2015


It's no secret I adore Gemma Arterton. She's been my ultimate girl crush since I saw her rocking that sharp bob in St. Trinians and Made in Dagenham marks the third stage production I've seen her in. I was initially surprised when I heard she was about to tackle the lead role in a musical, I'd previously only known her as an actress (a fantastic one at that), though she did give us a hint of her singing capabilities in her last theatre stint, The Duchess of Malfi. I'm usually not the biggest fan of musicals (unless perhaps there are some dark fantasy elements in it to intrigue me), but Made in Dagenham did sound promising. The story is based on the Ford sewing machinists strike of 1968 in demand of equal pay for women and as most of you know I'm a pretty passionate feminist so this was bound to have my attention from the get-go. 

Gemma plays the lead character Rita O'Grady, a wife and mother working at the Ford Dagenham plant as a sewing machinist. Fed up with new regulations downgrading their salary, she leads her fellow female workers out on a strike to protest against sexual discrimination and to demand equal pay for all women. The songs are super catchy, the costumes pure 60s heaven (that red Biba dress that Rita wears in the final scene tops all of my wish lists), and the story is very inspiring indeed. Although the casts' vocal calibre isn't the most outstanding it works enough to hold the whole musical together. The fictionalised characters all have rather cliche, 'typical musical' roles but are enjoyable all the same, each bringing heartfelt moments and comic relief in turn. I found the plot to be somewhat predictable but it's executed with such passion and vigour that it will most definitely bring a smile to your face by the end. I love how it goes to show that ordinary people really can do extraordinary things when they put their mind to it. Even though it wasn't anything extremely memorable for me, I think it's a great, feel-good production for the whole family (be wary of some swearing though) with a very inspiring message behind it and I guarantee you'll be humming tunes from it for the next week at least.

Made in Dagenham is at the Adelphi Theatre in London until the 28th of March 2015.

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