Monday, 14 March 2016

Review: Bad Girls at the Union Theatre

Bad Girls The Musical
Union Theatre
Reviewed on Friday 11th March 2016

"The baddest and the best" - Bad Girls The Musical has returned to London where it was first seen in 2007 at the Garrick Theatre. Based on the ITV prison drama, Bad Girls brings stereotyped soap storylines to the stage... and is strangely irresistible.

As a show Bad Girls has plenty of faults. On paper it shouldn't work, but it is the huge personalities onstage that bring the piece to life. Will Keith's production is feisty and character driven, the pace rattles forward and had me laughing out loud all evening.

Featuring some of the most spectacular lyrics ever written (you have to check out 'Life Of Grime' on Spotify - you won't believe your ears), the big comedic numbers are the most enjoyable. The more 'tender' moments don't quite come together, with the exception of 'Sorry' which is performed beautifully by Jayne Ashley. 

There are several songs which could easily be given the chop; one day I would love to see a boldly revised production of Bad Girls, with a few simple changes the piece could be dramatically improved. 

Sinead Long is striking as Shell Dockley whilst Christine Holman seduces the entire audience as Yvonne Atkins. Elsewhere, Imelda Warren-Green (Denny Blood) proves herself as one to watch, Maggie Robson (Sylvia "Bodybag" Hollamby) steals many of the evening's biggest laughs and Ceili O'Connor (Nikki Wade) shines. Jayne Ashley and Catherine Digges are a delight as the two Julies - they make a formidable comical duo and seem to have an absolute ball with their roles.

I have never seen another show like Bad Girls - it is completely bizarre. Thankfully Keith's production embraces a lighthearted tone. Bad Girls is somehow enjoyable, hilarious, predictable, terrible and brilliant all at the same time. It is a bit of escapism and I secretly loved it.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Bad Girls runs at the Union Theatre to 2nd April 2016.
Please visit for further information and tickets.

Photo Credit: Darren Bell

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