Made in Dagenham - a musical of the women workers of Ford factory in Dagenham and their fight for equal pay - was performed to a sellout crowd by Battle Light Opera Group at The Battle Memorial Hall last week.
A simplistic and industrial-styled set worked perfectly to bring director David Sismore’s excellent vision to life. The actors and dancers barely had time to pause as the clever and detailed choreography from Hollie Saunters filled the stage. Lorraine Barry skillfully conducted the orchestra and could be seen bobbing along to this catchy and fun musical.
Set in 1968 the story followed Rita O’Grady, played by Vanessa Trowell, who gave a perfect, passionate and moving performance that would rival some West End actors. It was hard to stay seated when she delivered her moving song Stand Up and she truly deserved the biggest applause of the night. Alex Roberts supported her as her husband and fellow Ford worker Eddie and his emotional solo song The Letter had audience members reaching for the tissues.
This production had support from West-End actor Sophie-Lousie Dann who created the role of MP Barbara Castle. Maxine Roach took on the challenge for BLOG’s performance and sang Ideal World with conviction and grace. Harold Wilson also made an interesting political side character played by Paul Goring who was convincing and comedic.
Lee Lyons as Mr Hopkins Managing Director of Ford UK was beautifully balanced by Joanna Flay as his long-suffering wife Lisa. Rob Dyer was the villain of the show, staring as Ford America board member Tooley who leered over the women and played up to the American chauvinistic stereotype with comic value. His song This Is America was both funny and well performed.
The cast sung and danced their heart outs and there wasn’t a single person on stage not giving it their all. Special mentions for the costumes by Libby Montagu-Grainger, which where authentic of a 1968 Ford Factory and 60’s fashion in general. Also to Chris Packham whose lighting was cleaver and creative. The performance was a joy to watch and BLOG will return in November with The Merry Widow. By Henri Hayler.