Bad Girls the Musical is based upon the ITV drama of the same name and follows a group of inmates in Larkhill Women’s Prison. New Wing Governor Helen Stewart fights to make a difference to these women’s lives, to empower and support them, but she has corrupt guard Jim Fenner and his sidekick Sylvia Hollamby trying to play the system and bring her down.
WODS’ version of Bad Girls is a show that is the sum of its parts. A strong supporting ensemble of inmates adds depth and the chorus singing is superb. I couldn’t fault the energy of everyone. No one looked out of place at any time; everyone was fully engaged. The acoustics in the Blakehay are tricky, and at times the band (who were excellent) drowned out the soloists on stage. A pity, because the bits we could hear clearly were outstanding. √ The overarching theme of Bad Girls is that of female solidarity, and it’s clear the director has kept this front and centre. This is a cast that support and uphold one another well, and never seek to overshadow or outdo each other. There’s some good choreography, and the minimal set is used imaginatively and very effectively.
Local theatre is always a joy because it gives people a chance to shine. As the rotten Jim Fenner and Sylvia Hollamby, Neil Stephenson and Fay Pearce bounce off one another with ease, and share a really great song and dance number together which definitely raised a smile. I also particularly enjoyed the performance from Natalie Baker as Helen Stewart; I felt her character was the most well-rounded and her vocals were superb.
Overall, I applaud director Abi Morris for taking on the difficult task of bringing Bad Girls to the stage. Set and lighting choices were fantastic, and the strength, solidarity and commitment that the WODS team all share came across brilliantly on stage.