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  • Review by john Murray

Made In Dagenham via Leven

The Fife premiere of Made In Dagenham sounded like a grand affair. After all this stage version has had huge success all over the country off the back of a well received movie which bucked the trend in the grand order of things. Set in the Ford motor factory in 1968 and inspired by a true story this is a tale of friendship, family, work relations and trades union. Staged in The Centre in Leven the decor is of a different age too and the huge curved ceiling is a well preserved curio. The ladies in line selling raffle tickets furiously at the entrance could have been from any decade but nonetheless essential in funding a full staged show of this magnitude.

Presented by Leven Amateur Musical Association (LAMA) in their 145th year the expectations are high. This ambitious company premiered Sunshine On Leith last year and were ambitious enough to previously stage Titanic The Musical and Chess in recent years. For 2018 they revive Carousel for the first time since 1969. The main characters of Rita and Eddie O’Grady are instantly well defined and both their work teams flag up individuals that are easy to remember. Add the management team to this then the American autocratic boss plus the comic parodies of PM Harold Wilson and Minister Barbara Castle and the cast is complete. Actually Elinor Hay as Mrs Castle almost stole the show with her characterisation and vocals on Busy Woman and particularly Ideal World. We even saw Callum Stott in a pink suit as he camped his way in song and dance at the launch of the new Cortina. Voices throughout though were outstanding with Gillian Hewlitt as Rita leading from the front in the big production numbers Everybody Out and Stand Up as a towering finale with full company – a spectacular sight with every inch of stage and surrounds filled with the cast in full flow and credit to director and choreographer Fiona Gallacher Stewart for her vision being realised.

The orchestra were spot on and gave a full sound well balanced for the vocals and the costuming complimented the production. Not only the factory outfits but the street wear and party dresses of the ladies and even the nod to Biba for the designer aspects. The ladies hair too took us back to late 1960’s with the authentic styles (and dance at one point) of the day. This show was a huge undertaking but achieved spectacularly by the LAMA talent.

The Centre Leven till March 18

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