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Previewed 16 August 2007, Opened 12 September 2007, Closed 17 November 2007 at the Garrick Theatre in London
After eight years banged up on the small screen, the Bad Girls are being transferred to the the stage of the Garrick Theatre in London's West End.
Bad Girls - The Musical is set in the fictional HMP Larkhall, it's the story of new idealistic Wing Governor Helen Stewart and her battles with the entrenched old guard of Officer Jim Fenner and his sidekick Sylvia Hollamby. It also follows the love story that develops between Helen and charismatic inmate Nikki Wade. A tragic death on the wing - in which Jim Fenner is implicated - leads to an angry protest from the women and forces Helen and Nikki to their opposite sides of the bars. But when it's clear that Helen stands to lose her job over Jim Fenner's misdeeds, the race is on for the women to nail Jim once and for all. Never shying away from the darker side of prison life, Bad Girls the Musical celebrates the warmth, compassion and defiant sense of humour that can triumph even behind bars. Packed with fresh, funny and original songs, Bad Girls the Musical promises to have you doing the time of your life.
Bad Girls the Musical is a fresh, funny and original British musical, based on characters from the award winning and hugely popular television drama. It has been developed by the creators of Bad Girls, Maureen Chadwick and Ann McManus, in collaboration with composer and lyricist Kath Gotts, and director Maggie Norris. This production comes to London following a successful season at The West Yorkshire Playhouse last year. On television Bad Girls enjoyed eight season, totalling 107 episodes on ITV1. The television programme has been seen around the world in over 100 territories including Canada, France, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA.
The cast for the musical Bad Girls in London features David Burt as 'Jim Fenner', Sally Dexter as 'Yvonne Atkins', Nicole Faraday as 'Shell Dockley' and Helen Fraser as 'Sylvia 'Bodybag' Hollamby' along with Caroline Head as 'Nikki Wade', Laura Rogers as 'Helen Stewart', Julie Jupp as 'Julie Saunders', Rebecca Wheatley as 'Julie Johnson', Camilla Beeput as 'Crystal Gordon', Amanda Posener as 'Denny Blood', Chris Grierson as 'Justin Mickelwhite', Emily Aston as 'Rachel Hicks', Michael N. Harbour as 'The Number One', Maria Charles as 'Noreen Biggs', Phil Barley, Josephine Cook, Karen Davies, Zita Frith, Lisa Marie Graham, Gillian Hardie, Rick Savery, Natalie Tapper, Kelle Marie Walters and Sally Whitehead. It is directed by Maggie Norris with designs by Colin Richmond. David Burt's London theatre credits include Napoleon the Musical (Shaftesbury Theatre 2000).
"I must admit that Chadwick and McManus's libretto is a good advertisement for their TV series. I can't say that it justifies the claim in the programme, made by a professor of criminology who once governed a British nick, that Bad Girls is 'the best prison drama that has ever been produced'. However, the musical that has come from the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds to London is an enjoyable piece of sentimental melodrama and even has a little bite in its dramatic dentures... Bad Girls aspires to be little more than reform-minded fun that comes complete with Colin Richmond's atmospheric steel-and-silhouette sets and tunes composed by Kath Gotts that aren't all that rich or hummable but are always lively and energetic." The Times
"Like Jerry Springer: The Opera, Bad Girls: The Musical is an attempt to makeanother small-screen favourite sing on stage. Life in Larkhall prison is alark, sort of Porridge meets Footballers' Wives. Certainly, the glamorous jailbirds banged up for shoplifting or murdering a copper are not kept short of lip gloss. It's more of a prison break than a punishment. Suicidal, snivelling Rachel is immediately set upon both by the bullies and the screw (played with villainous gusto by David Burt), but she belongs in a different show. Such gritty realism is wildly out of tune with the vice-is-nice pantomime. But who cares? The characters are implausible caricatures, be they sweetiepie screws or evil inmates, and all the better for being so. Baddest and best is Sally Dexter's super-sexy gangster's moll who arrives with killer heels, a coat lined with fags and a wonderfully raunchy number: All Banged Up. While Kate Gotts' music is competent pastiche, her lyrics are well worth singing about. These girls aren't just bad, they're wicked." The Mail on Sunday
"Lamentably, this show lacks structure and is little more than a sadly thin plot around which some instantly forgettable music has been woven. ... What had been an admirable example of TV drama at its best has, sadly, been reduced to a comic parody played out for laughs. It is best summed up by one of the numbers sung by the sex-starved inmates. In their frustration they warble about being "Banged Up Without a Bang" a line that is one of the show's few memorable moments. Two performances do help to save the show. That excellent character actress Helen Fraser is cunning, cowardly and corrupt as prison officer Sylvia "Bodybag" Hollamby (she played the same part on TV). And Sally Dexter, with her tumbling raven locks and sinister swagger, brings an eye-catching sexual allure to the tough Yvonne Atkins. Good casting there... It is a laugh and even comes complete with Busby Berkeley-style dance routines." The Daily Express
Bad Girls the Musical in London at the Garrick Theatre previewed from 16 August 2007, opened on 12 September 2007 and closed on 17 November 2007.