It's always a treat to pop along to Burton's Brewhouse Arts Centre, settle myself down in my seat and spend a few hours entertained by some of the area's finest talent.
This week I wasn't disappointed as Burton's Mellow Dramatics took to the stage to put on a first-rate performance of Made in Dagenham - The Musical.
Based on the 2010 film of the same name, the musical follows the story of the real-life 1968 sewing machinists strike at the Ford Dagenham factory. The show's protagonist, Rita O'Grady (Emilie Arnoux) stands up for women's rights and takes her strike for pay equal to the men at the factory to the TUC in Eastbourne. The strike was influential in the passing of the Equal Pay Act of 1970.
The show is heart-warming, funny, sad and poignant and it is down to women such as Rita and the Dagenham Ladies (Alison Barrett, Stacey Summers, Lauren Taylor, Sian Plummer, Stephanie Leeson, Daisy Parker, Hannah Parker, Rachel Wallis, Lucy Robinson, Natalie Veasey and Lucy Warner) that woman have the workplace rights, and pay, they do today.
Mellows have, again, a strong cast for this production, with Arnoux and Andrew Warner playing husband and wife Rita and Eddie O'Grady and both are perfect for their roles in this script-filled, song and dance extravaganza.
The Made in Dagenham score is lively and vibrant, with a couple of emotional numbers, not least Warner's rendition of The Letter. I can't really divulge any more without a 'spoiler alert'.
Watch out for Melvyn Edwards' wonderful caricature of Harold Wilson - he really does have some of the funniest lines in the show, bouncing off the dry wit of Caroline Lamb’s character, politician Barbara Castle to perfection.
Lauren Taylor is excellent as the foul-mouthed machinist Beryl who is described by one of the male workers at the factory as 'sandpaper – rough!'. She isn’t at all, she's lewd, crude and a positive hoot and every factory has a Beryl! As ever Rhys Jones shines, along with Dan Robb as owner of Ford, Mr Tooley 'The Yank', and Stacey Summers as Sandra. By crikey that girl can hold a note!
From beginning to end Made in Dagenham is a slick production which is also down to Sharon Plummer's meticulous direction and Andrea Osborne's impressive choreography.
Before watching the show I had no idea how good this musical was going to be and Tuesday's performance was worthy of any professional stage. And what performer doesn't enjoy bowing to a standing ovation?
The show will perform at Burton's Brewhouse Arts Centre , in Union Street, Burton, until Saturday, September 16 at 7.30pm each evening with a matinée showing at 2.30pm on Saturday.
Tickets are available by calling the box office on 01283 508100 and more information is available here .