Down tools and come to this great show!

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Arbroath Musical Society brings another fantastic new show to the Webster Memorial Theatre this week.

‘Made In Dagenham the musical’ is based on the film, telling the story of the Ford sewing machinists’ strike of 1968.

It is being performed for the first time in this area and certainly brings out a wide range of emotions. The script is well written and very funny, and the talented cast make the most of every comic opportunity.

In the lead role of Rita O’Grady, Lynne McIntosh is very rarely offstage, and is very believable as the working mum who finds herself at the heart of the dispute. Her portrayal of Rita as events take over her life is very moving in places, and she has some great numbers to sing.

Her working colleagues include Sandra (Cara Longmuir) who finds herself at odds with the strikers as well as the company, Cass (Sara Whitton), a girl with dreams; Claire (Heidi Cathro) who never seems to be able to finish a sentence, and Beryl (Marlene Kear) who almost steals the show with her unique brand of humour and expletives. The girls work really well together, and when they are on stage you know the next laugh is not far away.

Eddie O’Grady (Lee McLean) finds it difficult to cope with the time his wife spends on the dispute, and this comes to a head with the song ‘The Letter’ – one of the musical highlights of the show.

Speaking of the music, there are no hits or well-known songs, but don’t let this put you off. The music is well written, easy to listen to, and was getting warm applause from the audience on opening night. ‘Everybody Out’ and ‘Stand Up’ make you want to join the girls in their struggle.

Comedy in the show is also in the hands of Brian Boardman who plays Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Also congratulations to Janet Irving playing Barbara Castle, the minister who helps the girls get the equal pay amendment, and Alison McDonald, who plays Connie, the shop steward, who is fighting for equal pay – and fighting an illness.

There are many other roles, giving many members of the company their chance to shine, including youngsters Katie Matheson and Ethan Cathro, stars of the future perhaps?

Well done to the production team of Alan Christison, Richard Allan and Darren Handy, who have lead the company in putting on another fresh fun musical. The show is well supported by an excellent band and a slick backstage and technical team, who have created some clever projections.

Arbroath Musical Society have found another gem, and I heartily recommend that you grab one of the remaining tickets and have a great night out.