Bad Girls

Date 15th March 2019
Society Worthing Musical Theatre Company
Venue The Pavilion, Worthing
Type of Production Musical
Director Julie Jordan
Musical Director James LeLean
Choreographer Julie Jordan

Report

Author: Jose Harrison

From the start this was a very high energy show which was bursting with realism and full on movement as well as some harmonious singing. The opening very quickly set the atmosphere of problems faced by inmates in a women’s prison not only for prisoners but also the ‘Screws’ who were all in competition with each other in some form or another. I doubt there will be many people who have not seen or heard of ‘Bad Girls’ which is loosely based on the TV Soap which won many awards. The story is more of a play with music which follows the fortune of the inmates and Officers of Larkhall Prison.

On the technical side the direction was clever making the most of the stage area at all times and, thanks to an excellent stage crew and simple scenery, the many scenes came to life smoothly. The lighting enhanced the set well but my only criticism of the show was on the orchestral side which was painful to the ears being much too loud which drowned out the words of the great songs on quite a few numbers. Such a pity.

Mark Roberts as the manipulative and sadistic Jim Fenner gave an outstanding performance with his side-kick Sally McDonald as Sylvia Hollamby. They were a well matched duo, their song and dance routines and control of the inmates being complementary to their characters. I loved the choreography of Jim’s version of ‘The Key’ and their duet ‘Jailcraft’.  All the prison officers were well portrayed especially Claire Cossins as Helen Stuart as the idealistic new Wing Governor who is determined to be ‘friends’ with the Bad Girls.

I don’t really know where to begin with the talent portrayed by the inmates, they were so good. First and last to appear on stage was Annie Winrow suitably pathetic throughout and Rachel Smith the total opposite. These two built the story ending, which was so dramatic with the prison riot so cleverly played out by all the bad girls. Ali Sims and Pam Stringer were brilliantly cast as the two Julies, inseparable and so well matched. Ali’s version of ‘Sorry’ was one of the best numbers in the show. ‘Guardian Angel’ was another great song sung by Zoe Saunders and Chelsea Love, and Lois Chapel and Claire Cossins duet ‘Every Night’ was another show stopper.  All these principals gave outstanding performances very well supported by an exceptional ensemble. The entire show was convincing, portraying the ‘us’ and ‘them’ factor very forcibly. Congratulations Julie for excellent direction and to each and every member of the cast for giving the audience a very special evening.