This inventive piece of devised physical theatre is the rousing story of a group of female workers in 1910 who went on strike from their jobs as chain-makers, demanding higher pay and paving the way for the establishment of the very first minimum wage in the UK. Using live music and strong physical movement sequences throughout, the ensemble successfully portray the many struggles faced by these workers and the ultimate reward received as a result of perseverance.
Immediately, the audience is met by the sound of metallic clangs and clashes. Using chains, hammers, wood and dustbins the cast enter one-by-one creating an abrasive and breathtaking soundscape, demonstrating the struggle of the workers against the harsh conditions of the factory floor. The addition of choral singing over the top of this in huge waves of powerful harmonies creates a stirring chorus from the whole ensemble, creating an atmosphere of toil and oppression.
Victoria Bourne, who has written, directed and performed in the piece, has the audience spellbound with her moving a’cappella number ‘By the Flickering Light of Candles’ which gives beautiful contrast to the energetic and brash opening of the piece. At this point, we really see the emotive side of the workers’ lives. The whole ensemble shines, the close harmonies ringing out seamlessly, the musical styles of the show moving between stirring marching songs and repetitive chants which get more and more intense with every round.
The messages conveyed through these performance techniques concerning trade unions and the right to strike are clear and interesting. The story is put across eloquently in such an exciting way as to keep the audience enchanted throughout. The mixture of live music and percussion, movement and song make this an incredibly original show which will move many and entertain all.