Genre: Musical theatre
Written by: Maureen Chadwick and Ann McManus
Music and lyrics: Kath Gotts
Directed by: Susanne Dell
Reviewed by: Diane Andrew
Dubbed the ‘baddest and the best’ show in town, Harlequin Musical Theatre’s production of Bad Girls is a funny and entertaining rendition of the popular television drama of the same name.
The British musical is based on characters from the award-winning TV show following the love story that develops between an idealistic prison Wing Governor, Helen Stewart played by Sharon Hewlett, and a charismatic inmate, Nikki Wade played by Chantel Wilson, at the fictional HMP Larkhall.
David Burchall, playing the entrenched old-guard prison officer, Jim Fenner, soon sends disgust through the audience when it’s discovered that he’s been taking advantage of privileges which causes a naive inmate to take her life.
All the inmates know Jim is to blame and won’t let it rest until he is found out for his wrong-doings.
Lindsey Brown plays the hard-as-nails inmate Shell Dockley who co-operates in letting Jim have his wicked way with cameras installed in her cell catching him in the act.
It’s very much an adults-only production with occasional bad language and sexual innuendo.
But there’s plenty of toe tapping with some neat quirky songs performed by a cast full of wonderful voices.
Standing out are Julie Trigger and Angela Gill playing the two inmates, Julie Saunders and Julie Johnston respectively, while Nefertiti Teare, playing inmate Denny Blood, powers out her part.
Veteran Howick actor Reeva Chapman adds that extra element of humour, adeptly portraying the long-time elderly inmate Noreen Biggs.
With a simple set the production flows well, enhanced by the musical talents of the five-piece band, Lynnette Leggett, George Bonner and Megan Teh on keyboards; Mark Webster on bass; and Steve Faulkner on drums.
It’s a thoroughly enjoyable show.
Bad Girls plays at 8pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday (4pm matinee Sunday), and Wednesday, August 17, to Saturday, August 20, at 8pm at Harlequin Musical Theatre, 563 Pakuranga Road (behind Howick Community Centre).