Bad Girls

Date 19th September 2015
Society Inspirations Theatre Co
Venue Mansfield Palace Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Dot Clarke
Musical Director Melanie Gilbert
Choreographer Julie Cox


Author: Joyce Handbury

Bad Girls is an original British musical, based on characters and stories from the award winning and hugely popular television drama. It is set in the fictional HMP Larkhall and tells the story of the new idealistic Wing Governor, her battles with two entrenched prison officers and follows the lives of some of the female prisoners. I didn’t really know what to expect having never seen the show or the TV series and it definitely proved to be a show not for the faint-hearted or those who are easily shocked! There was an extremely strong principal line-up each and everyone playing their individual roles with great aplomb. Shell Dockley was sentenced to ‘life’ and described as being ‘pure evil’ she cunningly and ruthlessly rules over her fellow inmates to get her own way and Nicola Smith brilliantly displayed all of these traits with the perfect amount of menace. The scene where she seduces Jim Fenner (a honey trap set-up) is scintillating and her singing of the country and western number ‘First Lady’ was superb. Shell’s ‘fixer’ is Denny Blood and this was aptly played by Mattilde Stokes and together they made a great pairing. FFion Thornton was excellent in the role of Nikki Wade portraying the differing aspects of the character to perfection. Jessica Spanier as Yvonne Atkins, a gangster’s moll, was terrific. She was glamorous, sexy, self-assured and feisty all necessary aspects of the character that she represented. Lisa Bailey as Julie Saunders and Paula Bargh as Julie Johnston were great and their number ‘All Banged Up’, with Yvonne, was first-rate. Chloe Worstenhome was splendid as the idealistic Wing Governor and Zoe Wilson confidently played the part of Crystal Gordon, a devout Christian. It was such a shame that her ‘mike’ was not working properly in Act 1, but thankfully the problem was sorted in time for her lovely singing of ‘Freedom Road’. Georgia Drummond was ideally suited to the role of Rachel Hicks thoroughly managing to express and show the naivety and vulnerabilty of this first time offender and Chris Smith,  as Noreen Biggs, delivered her ‘one-liners’ with splendid comic timing. A strong, forceful and believable performance was delivered by Richard Buxton as the ‘nasty piece of work’ that was Jim Fenner, the Principal Prison Officer and I must say it takes a brave man to strip down to what were, very ‘skimpy’ underpants! His ‘partner in crime’, Senior Prison Officer Sylvia Hollamby, was ably played by Dawn Shearwood as was the Governor by John Jepson. Good support came from those in minor roles and from fellow prisoners. Video back projections and sound effects helped to create the ambience of the inside of a prison and props were used to create the cells and offices. The singing of all the principals was of a very high standard, the big chorus numbers with effective choreography were well executed as were the fights, squabbles and the ‘riot scene’. Whilst the show has some great musical numbers, is full of bawdy humour and sexual innuendo, it does deal with some very sensitive and serious issues and the company accomplished all of these aspects admirably. Congratulations to everyone involved (especially for all the hardwork that went into the production for just a 2-day run) for an enjoyable experience, if sometimes a little disturbing, which in my book, counts for a job well done!