Worthing Musical Theatre Company are relishing all the challenges of going back to Bad Girls The Musical.
Julie Jordan, who played Yvonne when they first staged it ten years ago, is directing the show this time, at Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre from March 13-16.
Many of the younger members of the company played young teenagers last time and are now in their 20s. They are loving taking on some of the gritty principal prisoner roles. As Julie explains, the musical is based on the first three series of the hit TV series and comes with catchy tunes. It is also very powerful on stage, she promises.
Bad Girls introduces us to an anarchic bunch of women on the edge and up against the odds, each with a story to tell of lives left behind and dreams of a better future and an entrenched old guard of prison officers out to dash their hopes. Full of big songs and characters, it is an exhilarating mix of gritty reality, rebellious spirit, emotional honesty and irreverent humour that touches hearts and kicks up a riot.
“The music really is very good. The first complete scene, all the prisoners are introducing themselves, and the main characters are singing I Shouldn’t Be Here, which speaks for itself. And there are plenty of challenges. One of them is this taking this group of people out of their normal more fluffy musical comfort zone and turning them into prisoners.”
With the ensemble, Julie insisted that each member needed to come up with a name and a background for their character, the crime the prisoner committed: “Obviously the main parts are scripted, but I wanted the ensemble to know what they were doing there. Otherwise they would just be waiting for me to move them around. I can’t direct every single tiny bit of it. They have got to seem natural on stage in the way they move and interact with each other.”
And her company came up with some interesting crimes they were wanting to apportion to themselves, murder, theft, stealing babies, you name it…
“But it is all coming together really nicely,” Julie says. “I am really, really pleased with it and I think so are the company. It is something rather different. I really love the show. I was given the chance to play Yvonne ten years ago, and it is good to come back to it.
“I do both, acting and directing, but I do tend to lean more towards directing now. I am older! But I just love to direct. I really like that sense of achievement, that feeling of moulding something together and seeing the finished article.”
And as she says, she is enjoying the challenge. She is not wanting lovely, sweet Sound of Music-style singing. Bad Girls is requiring something much more guttural…
“It is a fabulous company. They are really friendly.”