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Made in Dagenham the musical at West Suffolk College 'thoroughly satisfying glance into the past'

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A new musical version of Made in Dagenham motored on to the stage at West Suffolk College this week.

Directed by Han Colthorpe and Erica Dupuy - and taking place at the Conservatoire East theatre in Bury St Edmunds - the stars of this show are current performing arts students from the college.

Set in 1968, the production tells the story of a group of women - led by Rita O Grady – who take on the mighty Ford company - as they go on a mission to get the same pay as the men.

The cast of Made in Dagenham, which is on at West Suffolk College until May 14 (56489587)
The cast of Made in Dagenham, which is on at West Suffolk College until May 14 (56489587)

Be warned, the language is quite fruity as the narrative bananas through an epic journey that is essentially all about standing up for what you believe in and what is right.

A few Rolls Royce performances stood out, particularly those from Georgia Pooley who played Beryl and Emily Hopper who showed real presence as the politician, Barbara Castle.

And after starring in Carrie only a few months ago, Millie Harris was very assured in the main role of Rita.

Seyi Imogolome (left) with cast (56489585)
Seyi Imogolome (left) with cast (56489585)

I also liked the poise of cameos from Seyi Imogolome who was Tooley and George Peachey who played former Prime Minister, Harold Wilson.

But all of the cast should be chuffed with their efforts and the foot tapping music – created by Claire Bostock and a group of hand-picked professionals – constantly revved and was in top gear throughout.

Although the events depicted in Made in Dagenham took place over 50 years ago, some of the themes still resonate today. Power battles with America, equality in the workplace and a constantly changing political landscape were evident throughout. Away from this production, it’s sad that life moves on – but in many ways gets stuck in time.

The cast of Made in Dagenham (56489583)
The cast of Made in Dagenham (56489583)

But, in terms of this creation, all in all, this was a thoroughly satisfying glance into the past that had me dancing in my chair by the final number.

So put yourself in poll position by accelerating down to Conservatoire East to check out this version of Made in Dagenham before it waves the chequered flag amidst its final performance on May 14, 2022.

For tickets for this show and FINIST THE FALCON, the next Conservatoire East production that starts on Wednesday May 25, 2022, you can visit: https://conservatoireeast.wsc.ac.uk/whats-on/

This is a review by John Nice.