Review: Fantastically Great Women is empowering, uplifting – and important

Photo: Pamela Raith
The cast of phenomenal women makes this play stand out - and it delivers an empowering message for young girls and women across the world
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Fantastically Great Women is an incredible, must-see show for all of the family this spring, with an empowering message for all of the young girls and women across the world. 

Based on the popular books by Kate Pankhurst, the extraordinary women who inspired this show bring the performance to life. 

The cast of phenomenal women is what really makes this play stand out, as each one of the performers takes on multiple roles. 

Photo: Pamela Raith

Jade Kennedy shines on the stage, as she takes on the roles of Sacagawea, Frida Kahlo, and Marie Curie. Renée Lamb pulls on heartstrings, as she becomes Amelia Earhart, Mary Seacole, and Rosa Parks. 

Christina Modestou entertains with comedic relief, as she embodies Gertrude Ederle, Jane Austen, and Mary Anning. Kirstie Skivington challenges gender stereotypes and barriers, as she manifests Emmeline Pankhurst and Agent Fifi. 

Finally, Kudzai Mangombe encapsulates the definition of a fantastically great woman, as she takes on the role of Jade – a young girl exploring her own greatness, whilst overcoming all of the obstacles in her way. 

Photo: Pamela Raith

The protagonist of the play, Jade, gets forgotten about after a school trip, and faces the consequences of getting left behind by her friends and teachers.

Whilst she struggles to find a solution, she stumbles across a closed exhibition – the ‘Gallery of Greatness’. 

Drawing the audience to the edges of their seats, she climbs through a portrait depicting herself, and disappears into the unknown. 

Once through to the other side, Jade comes across some of history’s most inspirational women, and is taken along on a journey of self-discovery and revelation. 

Photo: Pamela Raith

One of the highlights of Fantastically Great Women is the brilliantly educational outlook throughout the whole performance. 

The process of delivering information through entertainment is highly effective for the younger members of the audience, and the whole family, as the performers successfully teach everyone about the impact of so many historically memorable women, whilst continuing to inspire generations of young women to chase their dreams and achieve their ambitions. 

Costume and set designer, Joanna Scotcher, deserves a round of applause for her innovative creations for this performance. 

Photo: Pamela Raith

The initial screen showcasing the ‘Gallery of Greatness’ builds up audience anticipation, as we’re all left wondering about what could possibly be hidden behind the screen during the pre-show and the first couple of songs. 

The set behind the screen is an impressive and effective layout, with the scattering of storage boxes intertwining with the layered staging – the musicians being a part of the performance completely immerses the audience in the numerous musical numbers, and creates a successfully cohesive atmosphere, with the occasional interactions between the cast and the musicians tying everything together seamlessly. 

Colourful, bold, and eye-catching costumes complement the uplifting quality of the play, as each of the character’s outfits accomplishes grabbing the audience’s attention and drawing them into the play. 

Photo: Pamela Raith

The costume for Frida Kahlo, in particular, is absolutely captivating, with a vibrantly imaginative skirt which extends, creating an artistic masterpiece reminiscent of her own creative spirit. 

The musical directors of Fantastically Great Women – Audra Cramer, Rhiannon Hopkins, and Nicola T. Chang – epitomise the empowering messages of the performance, through multiple engagingly enjoyable musical numbers. 

Every song throughout the performance guarantees to get the audience clapping, dancing, and laughing along with the characters on stage – the audience becomes as much a part of the performance as the cast and crew themselves – with catchy songs that remain consistently educational, with a fun, entertaining atmosphere. 

Photo: Pamela Raith

As the director of the play, Amy Hodge, emphasises in her note within the play’s programme, there are still too far and few between female led stories, especially within theatre, which is why Fantastically Great Women is such an important show, spreading awareness of the empowerment of women, and inspiring others to push the boundaries within their own lives. 

Just as important is the intersectionality of the feminism we consume and convey through media, a talent which the entire cast and crew succeed at handling and delivering. 

As perfectly said during the performance, ‘Take up space, stand your ground, because nobody changes the world alone’.

Join in the celebration of the world’s fantastically great women this spring, and treat yourself to a spectacularly enlightening evening with the whole family. 

Fantastically Great Women is at The Lowry until 9th of April 2022. Tickets start from £20 and are available here.

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