Review - Bad Girls
DATE 24th May 2023
SOCIETY Stevenage Lytton Players
VENUE Lytton Theatre, Stevenage
TYPE OF PRODUCTION Musical
DIRECTOR Ross Edwards
MUSICAL DIRECTOR Sufya Manya
CHOREOGRAPHER Emma Lovelock
Author: Nova Horley
A different show, echoing the gritty TV programme, with the iconic characters coming to life on stage.
A good directorial debut for Ross Edwards, supported by his MD and Choreographer, to ensure this was a fun production, but with some edgy and difficult subject matter, dealt with in a matter-of-fact way, that made it amusing rather than shocking. I liked the pre-show intro, very relevant.
The stage is small, but split well into three different performance areas, all well-lit and some interesting lighting effects, particularly the fire and fireworks. Well done. The riot at the end of Act 1 was staggering, very full on and the shock factor was well-achieved. I would have liked to see Fenner carried off, rather than get up and walk off stage after the fire, it rather spoiled the effect.
Sound was mostly good, although I found it a little difficult to hear the spoken character introductions before they launched into the opening number.
Costumes were suitable for the diverse characters on stage, and echoed the type of person they were. I liked the tap number, always popular, good sharp tap sounds from everyone, and choreography in general was suitable for all abilities.
Sera Dinmore gave us a very forceful Nikki, her extreme reactions made us believe that she really could have murdered someone. Good acting and vocal qualities.
Someone else who had a small role but made an impression, was Linda Friis as Noreen, a lovely part for her, some comedy lines well-delivered.
I understand it was Michael Bungay’s first principal part as Simon Stubberfield, and I commend him for his attention to the detail of “Number One” – well done.
The iconic Shell was played with all her outward bravado and exhibitionism by Jessica Kolthammer, but also showed her more vulnerable side, with good vocals too.
Ella Hodgson as Denny was good foil to her protector Shell, good all round skills.
I liked Justine Mileusnic as Yvonne, this lady showed her experience in the way she tackled the role and again sang with vigour and good tonal qualities.
The Julie’s, Louise Edwards and Alice Rush, brought us excellent harmonies in their numbers, along with the feel of an ordinary pair of friends, who were trying to make the best of life, whilst worrying about their families.
Heather Lawther’s religious Crystal, looked and sounded the part, singing well.
The ensemble gave us a good range of individual portrayals, and the ensemble numbers were well-sung, a very good sound.
The prison staff showed good variations, the sleazy Fenner, played by Alec Taylor, with Debbie Woolley as the infamous “Bodybag” Hollamby, the hardliners trying to make life as uncomfortable as possible, I really felt their cruelty.
Steven Musk was Mattison the junior officer, trying hard to be understanding and help the girls, nicely achieved, and hoping to build a relationship with Miss Stewart the new wing governor played very well by Sharon Stocken, I liked the way she showed the human face of prison life.
A fun production, with good vocalisations, enjoyed by myself and the audience. My thanks to Stevenage Lytton Players for their hospitality, I was made to feel very welcome.