This week in the news we are told that as far as pay and promotion are concerned, women are still forced to paddle furiously in their male colleagues slipstream and that the gender pay gap remains a reality for most. So it feels like the perfect time to revisit Made in Dagenham, based on real life events which took place nearly 50 years ago, when the 187 women of Ford’s flagship car plant in Dagenham, Essex, went on strike demanding equal pay.
With the movie version of Made in Dagenham starring Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins and Andrea Riseborough a complete success, would Aberdeen’s long-running amateur Lyric Musical Society be able to pull it off on stage?
As the first resounding bars ascend from the orchestra pit and Sophie Hamilton Pike (playing main protagonist Rita O’Grady) takes centre stage, we realise we are in for a treat. Pike’s vocals are confident, gutsy and bold, reflecting the qualities her character displays in abundance.
The cast is large, energetic and owning the stage, as they nail number after number of David Arnold’s wonderful score. Each soloist is strong, providing an impressive range of both uplifting and poignant pieces.
The set is professional, moving seamlessly back and forth between Dagenham and Westminster and although it feels unfair to single out one particular actor for praise, a stand-out of the evening is Andrew Begg (who plays Prime Minister Harold Wilson) adding wit, humour and a levity the audience loves. Laura Pike, who makes a highly credible and resolute Employment Secretary Barbara Castle, assists Begg in his light-hearted antics.
Director Craig Pike and his company elevate the serious business of am-dram to a higher level, delivering musical theatre that could so easily grace a West End stage. The only disappointment of the evening is that the Lyric Musical Society’s show can only be seen in Aberdeen.
Anyone who’d like tickets for Made in Dagenham should act quickly. After tonight’s exceptionally polished performance, seats won’t remain available for long.