Previewed 9 October 2014, Opened 5 November 2014, Closed 11 April 2015 at the Adelphi Theatre in London
The new musical comedy Made in Dagenham in London - adapted for the stage from the hit 2010 British movie.
It's extraordinary what ordinary people can do.... The uplifting musical comedy about friendship, love and the importance of fighting for what is right. Funny, touching and timeless, Made in Dagenham shows how ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they stand together. Inspired by the true story in 1968 of the women workers at the Ford car plant in Dagenham, Essex, who were the first women to challenge for equal pay leading to them going on strike and winning their case.
The cast features Gemma Arterton as 'Rita O'Grady' and Adrian der Gregorian as 'Eddie O'Grady'. This production is directed by Rupert Goold with choreography by Aletta Collins and designs by Bunny Christie. The stage musical is adapted from the film by Richard Bean with music by David Arnold and lyrics by Richard Thomas. Please note the original film was a '15' certificate and some scenes in the stage version include strong language. Gemma Arterton's recent West End stage credits include Douglas Carter Beane's comedy The Little Dog Laughed (Garrick Theatre in 2010).
When this production opened in November 2014 Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail hailed it as being "witty, fun, fitfully inventive and distinctly English... with its feel-good approach to a long-won battle for fairness, this show will win plenty of friends out for an evening’s easy entertainment." Dominic Maxwell in the Times wrote that it was a "politically engaged and thoroughly likeable musical adaptation of the film... David Arnold's score, full of Sixties pastiche, is perky and versatile... Richard Thomas's lyrics are full of satirical touches." Simon Edge in the Daily Express held that this show "comes as a breath of fresh air in a West End overburdened with juke–box shows and Broadway imports... Dazzlingly designed by Bunny Christie... a funny, thoughtful and uplifting show that deserves to be seen." John Nathan in the London Metro highlighted that as the "reluctant strike leader Rita O'Grady... Gemma Atherton inhabits the role with a pitch perfect dowdy panache." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph said that "with perky lyrics from Richard Thomas and composer David Arnold contributing thumping pastiche Sixties rock and pop, the emphasis is on a sustained feel–good factor – larger–than–life meets tongue-in–cheek... While it's perfectly engaging, the upbeat tone becomes faintly monotonous and the story is short on dramatic mileage... Despite celebrating how a bunch of workers found their voice, the evening lacks a truly compelling one of its own." Michael Billington in the Guardian thought that now "turned into a big, brassy musical, the show has mislaid the quality that made the film so good: a real heart." Paul Taylor in the Independent commented "this show - with its slick catchy tunes by David Arnold, Richard Thomas's droll, mischievous lyrics and a gag-infested book by Richard Bean - infectiously demonstrates that it's a saga well worth making a song and dance about... The trouble is that any serious emotion has insufficient breathing space. And the humour is not always notable for its bite or pertinence." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard noted that "this is a deeply, unapologetically British musical with a quirky, big-hearted charm... it feels fresh and exuberant — even as it revels in nostalgia for the Sixties — and David Arnold’s catchy, mostly poppy tunes are calculated to inspire a rousing singalong... this is in essence a political comedy... it's robustly likeable." Ian Shuttleworthin the Financial Times said that while "there are some fine tunes, but the show’s version of human relationships is verging on a travesty, its sexual politics are a travesty, and its political politics are a damned travesty."
"Rupert Goold stages his vibrant production on a set resembling a gigantic Airfix model kit, vividly suggesting the Sixties production line before the invention of 'health and safety'... While Richard Bean's book never strays far from Nigel Cole's memorably appealing 2010 film, he adds a smuttier, Carry On flavour... A quietly knock-out Gemma Arterton has a winning ease as Rita: the anthem 'Everybody Out!' wittily gets the strikers and the audience out for the interval, and at the end, her initially tentative but increasingly passionate invitation to the TUC delegates to 'Stand Upl' does the job very nicely. Girl power, cheek and charm - an irresistible combination." The Mail on Sunday
"The score marries David Arnolds's indistinguishable tunes to Richard Thomas's undistinguished lyrics. The chief fault, however, lies in Richard Bean's foul-mouthed book. Bean, for whom no joke is too cheap, no innuendo too crude, patronises the very women he purports to celebrate... Gemma Arterton sings prettily but lacks passion in the central role and only Adrian Der Gregorian as her husband and Isla Blair as an elderly trades unionist emerge with credit." The Sunday Express
The musical Made In Dagenham in London at the Adelphi Theatre previewed from 9 October 2014, opened on 5 November 2014 and closed on 11 April 2015.