The Musical Theatre Academy intoxicates a well received audience with a unique original musical based on the true story of the suffragette movement in the early 1900's, specifically focusing on the family who were at the radical heart of the long campaign to win women the right to vote; the Pankhurst's, who, completely devoted to this historic cause and inspired thousands of women to follow them, are demonised by the press and torn apart as a family in the process. Written by Nick Stimson and Annemarie Lewis Thomson, who is also the principle of The MTA, this piece is one of 6 collaborations the pair have accomplished. Dangerous Daughters has been revived with a vengeance after several years of workshops and development. The MTA being a relatively new academy, opening in 2009, offers the UK's first accelerated learning programme for musical theatre performers, who's staff continue to work professionally in theatre, ensure that the students are taught the skill and discipline needed for today's industry.
It is hard to pick one or two outstanding members of this young cast, as the entire company are as strong as each other - one unit, whether ensemble or a lead character. Dare I say, the power that this cast have and the historic content of the show reminded me of the first time I saw the legendary Les Miserables. Georgia Young, Katy Southgate and Alex Mellors play the three Pankhurst sisters Christabel, Sylvia and Adela who all had their own political and social vision. With irreplaceable support from Lydia Gardiner who masters the role of their mother Emmeline, who, in 1999 was named one of the most important people of the 20th century in Time magazine. The wonderful Laura Kent, who portrays Manchester born Annie Kenney and one of the leaders of the suffragette movement, expresses Elements of comedy whilst contrasting this with solo songs of real intent and sorrow.
Racky Plews' direction is smooth, with scene changes as slick as 'the Fonze', and Plews even had the audacity to use the same pieces of set in each scene yet we are still transported into different locations each scene without question. The choreography, also by Plews, though simplistic, is all that is needed and to the point; one hardly expects a mass tap dance to burst out with top hats and tails during a suffragette movement - history may have been slightly different if that was the case! Alas, I digress; it's the sort of show I would expect to see from an MT school, but the way it all pieced together is astounding. Flawless lighting on cue adds the icing to the cake and a 6 piece band led by the principle makes this truly a professional west end standard production. The MTA are a force to be reckoned with, I wouldn't want to miss out on a chance to see the stars of tomorrow an at incredibly affordable price. - Alex Grainger