Before, in the words of Tim Minchin, firing off cliché’s with startling precision, I would like to share my disgust. How dare you! How dare you release the must see musical of this year with catchy tunes and laugh out loud lyrics without a sound track! Every day since I saw Made in Dagenham has been a struggle. Trying to hum half remember melodies, singing words I don’t know. It’s been terrible.
Made is Dagenham is the story of the machinist from Ford Dagenham who went on strike for equal pay. They paved the way for women everywhere. There was a film version years and years ago back in 2010. Four years later, I don’t know what possessed the producers, Stage Entertainment, to produce a musical version but I’m so glad they did. With a creative cast that includes Richard Thomas, David Arnold, Richard Bean and Rupert Goold, it was bound to be a success!
For those of you that don’t know; Richard Thomas was involved with Jerry Springer: The Opera, Richard Bean wrote Great Britain and One Man, Two Guvnors, and Rupert Goold was artistic director of Headlong Theatre Company, David Arnold has written music for home grown classics like Hot Fuzz and Sherlock. The best men in their fields! I can’t help but feel a little uncomfortable about that. In a musical about equality, there are very little women in the creative team; Aletta Collins: Choreographer, and Bunny Christie: Set & Costume Designer. Important roles but not poster worthy roles, I just hope they got equal pay.
Rant over, on with the review. I cried. More than once as well. A couples of times, happy tears and sad tears. It was all very emotional. Rita O’Grady just wants to do what’s best, looking after three kids; two biological children and a husband. She works hard and don’t really get politics. Her passion speaks volumes and she is asked to represent the underpaid, supposedly, unskilled female workers of Ford Dagenham. Gemma Arterton plays sweet Rita. I’d never seen the film but know of Arterton and had my doubts. I only knew her as the sexy one from St Trinian’s and as a Bond Girl. I grossly misjudged her. She had a long history with the stage and a fucking set of lung on her. My sincere apologies, Miss Arterton.
I hope this is a musical that sticks. Given the current up-hill struggle called feminism and fighting for the radical notion that women are people, this musical is timely. We may have equal pay, but the work place isn’t a level playing field. I think that’s what hit me; the lengths these women went to get that respect and the way women are treated when they fight for that now. Feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez received rape threats after she successfully campaigned for Jane Austen to feature on the £10 bank note. I think people should be more upset at how little £10 gets you today! Made in Dagenham in an important message wrapped in laughter and catchy tunes.