South Downe Musical Society played to a half-full house on opening night and let us get one thing straight – this is a crime against local theatre.
It may be that the premise of Made In Dagenham is not one that immediately strikes as good subject-matter for a musical, but Oklahoma! is about a psychotic who plans to murder a man in order to then rape his girlfriend – so what do I know?
Let’s get the griping out of the way first.
SDMS are severely let down by their sound system.
The dialogue is mostly fine, but too many lyrics are lost throughout the show.
As these carry a good deal of the plot it can be bemusing.
Helen Stoddart and Matt Sackman are superb as Rita and Eddie, with Stoddart, in particular, carrying the majority of the piece with style.
Brian Sweatman, Danny Owen and (especially) Jane Pegler and Caroline Westmoreland offer fine support.
But who will you remember?
The frankly superb Alan Jenkins and Sue Rourke as Harold Wilson and Barbara Castle.
These two performances, painted in broad strokes of caricature rather than detailed historical accuracy, are joyous.