Bad Girls

First there was Prisoner Cell Block H, then Within These Walls and more recently Orange is the New Black  – and stuck in there is Bad Girls. Yes there’s a rich seam of fun and drama to be mined from the idea of women’s prisons and Director Michael Burnie and his cast at Brighton Theatre Group have mined that seam to great effect.

It has to be said that some of our local theatre companies can stand side by side with the visiting theatre productions that come to the city and hold their heads up with pride. This is no exception.

Firstly a well conceived set with great abstracted projections that worked well, the more solid elements were less successful sadly but overall it was good. Next a brilliant band in the more than capable hands of Musical Director Ellen Campbell knocking out the numbers with chutzpah. Last but not least the well drilled company who added more than a dash of camp to the big numbers and air air of menace to the rest of the show, and in that cast some amazingly talented singers and actors. In particular Sophie Barnes, Katryna Thomas Shell, Jo Barnes and Emma Lindfield as the two Julies and Sharon Star, whose “Bodybag” was chillingly comic.

At the heart of the story is a budding romance between wing governor Helen Stewart and inmate Nikki Wade and the evil machinations of Jim Fenner. Collette Ridehalgh brings class to her role as wing governor, Frankie Davison is scarily effective as Fenner and Hollie Hines brings the house down with her beautiful and powerful voice.

All in all if this is what life is like in a women’s prison then in part it might be worth getting banged up.

The Old Market

18 April

Andrew Kay

4.5 stars

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