It had been a while since I last saw Made in Dagenham, the last time being the LODS version 2 years ago, which was good as it meant I wasn't fully comparing the two. Although from what I recall, I was blown away by the LODS version, as I was by large parts of Brentwood's too.
Taking the lead role of Rita O'Grady was Juliet Thomas and she gave a unfaltering performance from start to finish, full of both vulnerability and strength, and every emotion possible.
Playing opposite her in the role of her husband Eddie was Martin Harris, a seasoned performer who used his comedic timing perfectly in this role, but also showed a softer side too.
Completing the family unit were Samuel Johnson and Sophie Cooke as Graeme and Sharon O'Grady who performed with energy and enthusiasm from their first 'Mum' to their appearance at the TUC conference at the end.
To pick out individuals from the rest of the cast would be easy to do, but unfair as (almost) every single member of the cast made the show fantastic. From the fabulous factory girls who worked so well together and the hapless Harold Wilson & fiery Barbara Castle and their aides, to the Union and Management representatives and American boss, I enjoyed every character.
If I was to be really picky, there were a few moments that were a bit too over the top for my liking; the raucous laughter at Chubby's 'jokes', the sudden anger from the management in the negotiation scene and the dragged up men just did not do it for me.
The vast majority of songs were superbly sung (or performed as was the case with the Prime Minister's song). But songs that stood out for me included Busy Woman, Everybody Out, The Letter (sung brilliantly and reacted to with such emotion), and of course the finale Stand Up, which had most audience members on their feet by the end.
The set was simple, but effective with scenes differentiated via set dressing and props. Scene changes were often swiftly completed and when less so, covered by music.
Speaking of the music, somewhere backstage an excellent band performed the range of music expertly, directed by Andy Prideaux, although on occasions the balance wasn't brilliant, but that is more of a tech / sound issue I suppose.
So I have now seen two productions of Made in Dagenham and thoroughly enjoyed both.
Is it because of the show itself, or because the group's performances / productions? I'm not sure, but I do know I would like to congratulate and thank all at Brentwood Operatic Society for an excellent night's entertainment.
Brentwood Operatic Society's next production is to be another show I have recently seen, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.