School stars shine
During the last week of term, the Clyde Valley campus assembly hall jumped back in time to 1970s England for the school’s production of the hit musical Made in Dagenham.
The show revolved around Rita O’Grady, the leader of the strike, as she encouraged the women of the Ford factory to walk out after they were reclassified as unskilled workers, while their male counterparts saw their wages increase.
After Rita is patronised and snubbed by the factory at a union meeting, the women’s grievances over their worker status becomes a fight for equal pay.
Amy Mcleod was mesmerising in the role of Rita O’Grady. She masterfully portrayed the raw emotion of Rita’s character and cleverly took the audience on her journey and fight for equal pay.
Her stage presence and confident portrayal of wife, mother, worker and leader of this historic fight had the audience in her corner from the very outset.
Stuart Murphy was a masterful Eddie O’Grady, playing the other lead role with absolute assuredness.
Stuart brilliantly captured Eddie’s difficult journey and transition into the stay-at-home father and husband and led the audience through h the peaks and troughs of his emotional rollercoaster ride. His cute and cheeky rendition of ‘I’m Sorry I Love You’ won over the audience as did his powerfully emotive version of ‘The Letter’, as he pondered the future of his marriage to Rita.
Amy and Stuart both demonstrated a remarkably mature ability to move the audience through their singing, with their solos and duets totally convincing.
The chemistry between the two leads was so strong the audience reacted with tangible happiness, and relief, as the couple were reunited during the powerful final song, ‘Stand Up’.
Shelby McElroy (Connie) provided wonderful back-up and encouragement to Rita.
Shelby produced many moments of high comedy but it was also Connie’s battle with cancer, that she did not win, which had the audience moved to tears.
The girls’ real-life, close friendship undoubtedly helped to capture the strong bond and chemistry that the two had on stage.
Paige McLelland, as the ultra- confident, outspoken and wildly inappropriate Beryl, was a formidable stage presence as she enjoyed life – tormenting the men in the factory. Along with Cass (Billie Davie), Sandra (Abby Cockburn) and Clare (Nicole Rogan), the girls were quick to defend and support Rita.
Such was the strength of the women’s movement they were able to encourage an unlikely character to join the cause.
Lisa (Kimberley Bryans) an educated, wealthy housewife was quick to offer support to Rita, and even provided Rita with the infamous ‘Biba’ dress that was worn to the trade union conference.
A strong, independent character, Lisa ignored direct instructions from her husband Mr Hopkins (Euan Bradshaw) a manager at the company, and Kimberley Kimberleywasconvincing was convincing in herportrayal her portrayal of this inspiring character.
Arran Dickson provided some more comedy as the egotistical, often chauvinist character of Harold Wilson. Keeping him in check was Barbara Castle (Caitlin Steven) a forward-thinking Parliamentary minister who often challenged Wilson and also provided support to the women’s cause.
Caitlin commanded the stage during her performance of ‘Ideal World’ and had the full backing of the audience as she gave words of wisdom and encouragement to the girls at a time when they needed it most.
A chorus of some 30 other young people brilliantly supported the lead characters.
The highly imaginative and complex sets, linked with the costumes helped recreate the atmosphere of the time.
The lighting and special effects matched any professional production.
The Clyde Valley band simply held the production together and rocked the house all night long.
Made in Dagenham can be proudly regarded as the latest triumph for Clyde Valley’s production team (Mrs Anne Traynor, Mrs Claire Ferrie, Mrs Valerie Livingstone and Mrs Stefanie Chalmers).
The chorus were: S2: Chloe MacFarlane, Elise McLelland, Sophie Taylor and Taylor Porteous.
S3: Lily McBride, Lauren Rankin, Caragh Wilson and Caitlin Steven.
S4: Eilidh Burnett, Sarah Chance, Chloe Magee, Rachel Murray, Daniel Smith, Lewis Phillips and Stuart Coombes.
S5/S6: Colette Black, Elizabeth Hendrie, Caitlin Jeffrey, Kate Reid, Hannah Devine, Kimberley Bryans, Abby Cockburn, Kayleigh Hart, Nicole Busby, Arran Dickson, Euan Bradshaw, Stuart Murphy, Nicole Rogan, Billie Davie, Shelby McElroy, Paige McLelland and Amy Mcleod.