For three nights at the end of last Half Term, a terrific senior school cast brought to life the brilliant Richard Bean/ David Arnold musical Made In Dagenham. Based on real events, the plot told of the struggles of Ford female car workers in the 1960s, and the superb songs, plus a sprinkling of slightly saucy gags, made the show go with a real swing.

Rita O'Grady, the leader of the protesters, was brilliantly portrayed by Polly, who handled Rita's initial reluctance through to her assumption of authority while dealing with her crumbling marriage to Eddie (a superb performance by Kristina). Polly delivered some standout solo performances, the director's favourite being We Nearly Had It All, a beautiful rendition that earned a heartfelt ovation with every performance. One of the many highlights of the play, however, was its ensemble nature, allowing for some terrific set pieces, including Viva Eastbourne (an upbeat number about attending the TUC Conference, expertly choreographed by Mrs Baker) and This Is What We Want, the 'front-line' girls (Charlotte, Eleanor, Jolie, Kirsten and Khalilah) first 'protest' song. In a top-drawer cast, it seems unfair to single performers out, but special mention must go to Fenella (a scene-stealing Harold Wilson), Megan (Barbara Castle, excelling in her solo number Ideal World) and Isla and Skye as the Hopkins, a married couple with very different attitudes to the developing strike action. Audiences were full of praise for this very modern, raw musical, which didn't pull its punches, with some suggesting that it shows that St Mary's students can really get to grips with subject matter a long way from the traditional and the 'canon'.

Across the entire 35-strong cast, the acting and ensemble work was superb, and the contributions of Musical Directors Mrs Cavill and Mrs Dudley Fryar and Mrs Baker aided by Miss Cassi Webber (Movement and Choreography) made this a real group effort in every sense. To put this on in under seven weeks of rehearsals was a testament to the talent and commitment of everyone involved.

Mr Duncan Ellis, Director of Drama