We take a look at what critics have had to say about the new musical, now playing in London’s Theatre Royal Stratford East.

(c)Pamela Raith

WhatsOnStage: *** “Director Amy Hodge keeps things moving along briskly and with some sophistication. Joanna Scotcher’s designs – her costumes in particular – are a treat, imagining Emmeline Pankhurst in sparkly camouflage patches of the Suffragette colours of purple and green, and creating a girl backing band of Marys – Seacole, Curie and Anning – in fluorescent patched leathers.”

Evening Standard: **** “Playwright Chris Bush’s story is full of thoughtful meditations on what we can learn from these figures in a world where most women don’t make history. Still, Jade doesn’t feel like an altogether three-dimensional character, because her main role here is to listen patiently as historical figures belt musical theatre songs at her. But what songs they are. They’re the handiwork of Miranda Cooper, who penned pop classics such as Love Machine for Girls Aloud and Round Round for Sugababes, so it’s no surprise that they’re wonderfully earwormy, especially the aforementioned Kahlo number and percussive suffragette anthem Deeds Not Words.”

The Reviews Hub: ***** “Each of the women within this show are just as fantastically great as the characters they embody and should be proud to be making their own impact on the world by ensuring that these historical tales continue to be retold. This is not just a fun singalong musical (although it has this in abundance) it’s a memoir of the past, with positive inspiration for the future generations.”

All That Dazzles: **** “While it has its sights set at a younger audience, there is plenty for people of all ages to enjoy in Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World. Kids and big kids alike will fall in love with the inspirational story with a positive and empowering message. Fantastic songs, Great staging and a cast full of Fantastically Great Women, this show might not change the world but it will certainly give you a Fantastically Great time.”

Pocketsize Theatre:**** “There’s an undeniable exuberance about this production as tuneful songs provide a foot-stomping, singalong appeal. The best of which is ‘Words not deeds’ which features Emmeline Pankhurst in hard and heavy rapping style. An excellent cast performs flawlessly throughout the show but something troubling nags at the back of one’s mind. The programme is brightly coloured with stickers on the centre pages which is an unusual extra. Although great fun it seems obvious the show is primarily aimed at children and thus lacks wide crossover appeal.”

Broadway World: **** “Hodge’s direction is magnetic. She utilises Joanna Scotcher’s set to install a make-believe dynamic between Jade and the scientists, artists, and activists that’s complemented by Dannielle ‘Rhimes’ Lecointe’s electrifying choreography. A three-piece band perch high upon wooden shipping crates that conceal entrances and exits.”

The Blog of Theatre Things: ” Ultimately, though the show is primarily aimed at a young audience, it’s hard to imagine any woman of any age leaving the theatre not feeling as Jade does: newly inspired, confident and ready to make her mark on the world – even if she hasn’t figured out how yet.”

Culture Whisper: **** “This is a perfect feel-good show to take kids to, especially if you want to introduce them to feminism in a fun, light-hearted way. But if you are looking for intellectual rigour and musical ingenuity, go elsewhere.”

The Upcoming: **** “Directed by Olivier-nominated Amy Hodge, the show successfully retells stories of great women in history, from Jane Austen to Rosa Parks, through the medium of song. At the heart of the show is an important message to Jade and the audience: to be unapologetically yourself. Hodge, through her direction, manages to bring the stories to life with an exciting and dynamic cast of very talented women.”

The Stage: *** “New family musical that feels excessively upbeat despite some strong performances”

Reviewsgate.com: **** “The great women are not all that surprising – Marie Curie, Frida Kahlo, Amelia Warhart, Rosa Parks, Mary Secoal, Jane Austen, and Emmeline Pankhurst among others appear. But they all have valid points to make, and not all mean anything to Jade who is on a learning session. The set, all boxes lit up with neon surrounds, is jolly, the costumes frequently funny, and this is a night out to lift the spirits as well as make one pause and think about just how badly women have been treated in the past and how brave, although by no means unique, as Rosa Parks points out, this lot were.”

The Times: **** “Springboarding off a picture book by Kate Pankhurst, a distant relative of the suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, this tirelessly upbeat and female-led pop musical does for historically high-achieving women what Six did for the wives of Henry VIII. How coincidental is it that both shows were produced by Kenny Wax? Aimed at family audiences and performed with steamrolling energy by a cast of five, it is witty, informative and fun. What’s not to like?”

The show continues to play at the Theatre Royal Stratford East until the 17th July before continuing to tour the UK.


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