Following their hilarious debut of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Kingston Grammar School has amazed once again with their latest production of Made in Dagenham The Musical featuring their senior students.

 The performance encapsulates a vibrant and colorful retelling of a true story in which a group of female working-class sewing machinists at Ford Motor Company’s Dagenham plant in London walked out and went on strike, successfully protesting for equal pay after being deemed as unskilled workers. The play accommodates a series of phenomenal song performances, a dive into 60’s fashion, and a myriad of uproarious comedy.

When I watched the play myself on the 10th of February, I found myself engaged in a horde of laughter, sadness, and adoration as I quickly fell in love with the cast and their appealing dynamic. Esteemed drama teachers and co-directors of the play – Mr. Stuart Crohill and Mr. Richard Gee alluringly translated the remarkable moment in history into an amusing story which was a pleasure to watch.

Throughout the play, what stood out to me was the phenomenal and captivating talent of leading actress Lara Pilcher who played Rita O’ Grady, and supporting actor Fin James who played Eddie O’Grady. The storyline victoriously acknowledged the true pain and triumph that comes with being an activist as the audience is exposed to how the seeming glory of Rita’s empowering activism poses threat to the stability of her relationship and family life. This message was clearly translated through the sensational and heart-wrenching acting by Pilcher and James as the audience became consumed and saddened by their beautiful relationship which seemed to be deteriorating near the middle of the play. The two portrayed a truly extraordinary performance and allowed an insightful view of what it might be like for acclaimed influencers around the world.

My favorite performances included “Wossname,” performed by Teva Hogarth who played Clare which had the audience roaring with laughter as her goofy, oblivious, and comical personality was one to remember. Fin James’ performance of "The Letter," was also memorable and had the audience welling up with tears as it is revealed that Eddie was leaving Rita and taking the kids because of her absence, even though he still loved her. The performance was cleverly timed to have Rita react to it as it was performed, allowing a tearful response from the audience.

After the play was over, I interviewed Alicia Bramwell, another outstanding performer who played Connie Riley, and she commented on the rehearsal process and her experience – here’s what she had to say: “Creating Made in Dagenham was an amazing experience. At first, the rehearsal schedule seemed packed and tedious, but after I had settled into my role, it became so much fun. The entire drama department really pushed us to portray our characters as best as we could which I am very thankful for. This experience has definitely boosted my confidence and helped to improve my theatre skills. If I were to give advice to anyone who feels nervous about a role like I was initially, I would say to strive to be confident – if you have been picked for that role, that means people can see your talent and ability, even if you can’t.”

Overall, the play was a terrific performance and was a pleasure to watch. I look forward to seeing some of these actors dominating Hollywood one day as their sensational talent holds them capable of doing so. Look out for Kingston Grammar School’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which is coming soon!