Another musical, called “Strike A Light”, had almost exactly the same plot and opened at the Piccadilly Theatre, London only a few days after “The Matchgirls” closed. Neither musical had a successful run.
Cast & Crew
|Annie Besant||Marion Grimaldi|
|Herbert Burrows||Kim Grant|
|Matchgirls – Alice||Jane Kells|
|Matchgirls – Beattie||Louanne Richards|
|Matchgirls – Dot||Valerie Smith|
|Matchgirls – Eva||Penny Durrell|
|Matchgirls – Frances||Tessa Bremner|
|Matchgirls – Jane||Wendy Lampard|
|Matchgirls – Jessie||Prunella Ransome|
|Matchgirls – Liza||Lesley Judd|
|Matchgirls – Louie||Rosemary Jose|
|Matchgirls – Maggie||Olivia Breeze|
|Matchgirls – Mary||Suzanne Kerchiss|
|Matchgirls – Mrs Purkiss||Pat Ashton|
|Matchgirls – Nell||Judith Paris|
|Matchgirls – Old Min||Apple Brook|
|Matchgirls – Polly||Julia Sutton|
|Matchgirls – Winnie||Cheryl Kennedy|
|Mr Potter||Thomas Kyffin|
|Paula Westerby||Vivienne Ross|
|Book & Lyrics||Bill Owen|
|Musical Director||Ian MacPherson|
- Added by Michael Hope.
The musical focuses on the women and girls working as match cuttersi n the Bryant and May factory in the East End of London in 1888. The employees work in terrible conditions, with inadequate pay, bullying treatment and the ever present threat of “Phossy Jaw” , a form of osteonecrosis caused by the yellow phosphorus they work with. Bryant and May are portrayed as callous and uncaring employers, and factory foreman Mr Mynel represents the threatening and imposing regime in which the girls were forced to work. The central character, Kate, writes to socialist reformer Annie Besant to ask for help in seeking improvements. Kate and Annie’s attempts to rally the girls leads to Kate becoming a strike-leader and a founder member of a trade union for the girls, even though Kate’s involvement in the strike puts strain on her relationship with her docker-love, Joe.
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