Bad Girls The Musical

Date 17th May 2018
Society EROS Musical Society
Venue Eastwood Park Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Jon Cuthbertson
Musical Director Aileen Shaw
Choreographer Jennifer McKay

Report

Author: Craig Inglis

With a story based around the characters form the original TV programme meant the audience, especially if they were fans of the programme were in for a treat as EROS brought the characters to life, in this lively musical.  The use of a static main set to the rear of the stage and moving trucks to take us through the various other scenes, allowed director Jon to keep the pace moving throughout the show.  With the story focusing on the inmates and prison officers of HMP Larkhall, we follow the optimistic new Wing Governor Helen Stewart as she fights with some of the more stalwart members of staff to improve the rehabilitation of the prisoners.  The role of Helen Stewart was played flawlessly by Hazel Keay.  Hazel’s admirable characterisation allowed us to see a woman who was a strong professional, relaxed outside work and struggling with her emotions for inmate Nikki Wade.  Clashing with Helen is the baddie character, who in a show like this we love to hate, Officer Jim Fenner.  Fenner was captured perfectly by Jonathan Proctor.  Jonathan’s charisma, strong vocals and acting brought a balanced character to the audience as they chuckled along with him and then at him as they witnessed his demise.  The comedy side of Fenner was highlighted with the comical Tracey Fraser as Senior Officer Sylvia Hollamby.  The conversations with Tracey and Jonathan were hilarious and their numbers ‘Jailcraft’ and ‘The Future is Bright’, the latter which saw them tapping in sparkly outfits were highpoints.  The prison staff roles were completed confidently by Mike Denholm as Junior Officer Justin Mattison, Ian McAulay as Governing Governor, and David Clark as Senior Officer.  The prisoners, a real mix of characters brought the cells of Larkhall to life.  There were touching performances from Laura Wilson as Nikki Wade and Kirsten Keenan as Rachael Hicks as they struggled with emotions and life in prison.  Humour came from the quirky characters of Noreen Biggs and Crystal Gordon played by Lorna Cunningham and Alison Mathers respectively.  Moe comic relief was brought by Jane Sinclair and Denise Smith as Julie Saunders and Julie Johnston, or affectionately known better as The Two Julies.  Jane and Denise worked very well together and had the audience laughing throughout.  The larger than life character of Shell Dockley was captured perfectly by Jennifer McKay who had fabulous stage presence fitting to the strong character of Shell.  Jennifer also choreographed the show which should be commended.  Shell’s sidekick Denny Blood played by Linsey Todd brought an innocence to the story with Linsey and Jennifer working well as a duo.  Now what would a musical be without some glamour, and even in a prison setting this was provided by Lesley Wilson as Yvonne Atkins.  Lesley commanded the stage with her self-assured character of Yvonne throughout the show, balancing this with a softer maternal side towards Denny.  Again Linsey and Lesley worked well to capture the gentle side of the characters in particular Linsey who contrasted this with the hard side of Denny when she is around Shell and the other inmates.  The main principal cast telling the story of these characters were well supported by a small but strong ensemble who provided consistent vocals in each Musical number throughout the show.