“You can’t try and bamboozle me with choreography”
A third visit back to this most heart-warmingly lovely of shows and a fine festive occasion it turned out to be. Review #1 and review #2 can be read here and there’s little much to add that hasn’t already been said. There’s much about Made in Dagenham that is indubitably charming and the breadth of David Arnold’s score has a lovely distinct tunefulness that has really worked its way into my memory (meaning I’m the one humming along!).
Additionally the leading performances of Gemma Arterton and particularly Adrian der Gregorian have really blossomed into something quite touching – I’d always been impressed by Arterton’s Rita but der Gregorian seems to have found a new emotional level as her husband Eddie. It’s also interesting to see where the nips and tucks have come in the show – the quip about Sandra’s dad liking whiskey and Monty’s redemption are two I noticed, and Rita’s daughter’s bolstering presence during ‘We Nearly Had It All’ is also now sadly gone.
So it is a bit of a shame that the audience at this Saturday matinée was a little bit sparse. I hope it is just indicative of alternative priorities on the last Saturday before Christmas, for it would be a real ignominy for Made in Dagenham to be struggling when it is a prime example of a great British new musical. Yes it has its daft moments – Mark Hadfield’s idiosyncratic interpretation of Harold Wilson, the randomness of certain lyrical moments, the Last Supper tableau (which I personally really like) – but it has also has tons of heart, as Rupert Goold balances theatricality with truthfulness.
For every moment of flashy grandeur, there’s one of real emotion too, not least in the pride that is writ large on Isla Blair’s Connie’s face when she realises she’s successfully passed on the torch. So if you’re kicking your heels over the festive period wondering what to do instead of watching crap on the telly, you could do a hell of lot worse than getting yourself over to the Adelphi.