Gemma Arterton has expressed disbelief over the early closure of her West End musical Made in Dagenham, which ended earlier in April after just six months at the Adelphi theatre.
“The audience loved it and we all loved it and I’m baffled. Baffled!” the actress told RadioTimes.com at the Olivier awards on Sunday. “It was a glorious time.”
Arterton, who was nominated for Best Actress in a musical for the role but lost out to Beautiful’s Katie Brayben, added: “It’s sad – I fly the flag tonight for the new British musical. Really new, because [Made in Dagenham]’s not songs that already existed, it’s songs that were written for the stage, for that theatre, for that story.”
Based on the film of the same name starring Sally Hawkins, the Made in Dagenham musical saw Arterton play fictional Ford factory worker Rita O’Grady, who campaigned for gender wage equality in the 1960s by calling a strike of her fellow machinists (the strike did actually happen, and eventually brought about the Equal Pay Act of 1970).
The film’s transfer to the theatre was overseen by producer Rebecca Quigley, who said after its closure was announced in January that she was “immensely proud of Made in Dagenham and of everyone involved in bringing it to the stage.”
She added: “Brand new, British musicals are few and far between – particularly those that can make you laugh and move you in equal measure,”
Made in Dagenham’s demise follows a series of high-profile closures for new West End musicals in recent years, including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Stephen Ward, Tim Rice’s From Here to Eternity, Harry Hill’s X-Factor tribute I Can’t Sing! and Spice Girls musical Viva Forever, while revivals of older shows such as Miss Saigon and Cats have seen more success.
Arterton also discussed her latest film role in black comedy The Voices, which sees her play a severed head kept as a companion by her killer (Ryan Reynolds).
“It was weird, because I’m so gesticulative and I had to stay very still!” Arterton said. “But it was great because it was a comedy role and I don’t get many of those, so I loved it.”