REVIEW: Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World – Theatre Royal – Nottingham


“Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World” is a stage adaptation that endeavours to bring to life the incredible stories of influential women from history. Based on the cherished books by Kate Pankhurst, the production showcases a diverse array of remarkable figures, from Rosa Parks to Sacagawea, Amelia Earhart to Marie Curie, Mary Seacole to Frida Kahlo, and even Jane Austen and Emmeline Pankhurst. Written by Chris Bush and Miranda Cooper, with direction by Amy Hodge, the production boasts impressive choreography by Danielle Lecointe and captivating music arrangements by Cooper and Jennifer Decilveo. Each element of the production comes together to create an entertaining and educational experience that highlights the achievements and contributions of these extraordinary women.

At the heart of the production is its fantastic cast, which includes Summer Priest, Jennifer Caldwell, Georgia Grant-Anderson, Chlöe Hart, and Leah Vassell. Each member of the cast brings passion and charisma to their roles, breathing life into these historical icons and making their stories resonate with audiences of all ages. There dedication and passion for the show and its message is clearly evident.

One of the most striking elements of the production is its modern costuming (Joanna Scotcher), which injects a fresh and vibrant energy into the historical narratives. The costumes not only pay homage to the time periods in which these women lived but also infuse a contemporary flair that makes the stories feel relevant and accessible to today’s audiences. Scotcher’s set design, while modest in scale, effectively transports audiences to different moments in history, providing a visually engaging backdrop for the unfolding stories. 

However, the decision to use a framing device involving a lost child in a museum is somewhat puzzling and detracts from the overall coherence of the narrative. This narrative choice leads to some awkward parallels between the struggles of the historical women and the child’s personal life, which may confuse or distract audiences. The attempt to do something unique is admirable but leads to a slow start to the show and one which feels unnecessary.

Despite these narrative missteps, the production still manages to captivate audiences with its celebration of female empowerment and resilience. However, it’s hard to shake the feeling that “Fantastically Great Women” is trying a bit too hard to emulate the success of “Six the Musical” without fully establishing its own identity. Some of the staging and creative choices feel like they are not treading new ground, but trying to ride on the success of Six. It doesn’t feel like a coincidence that the principal cast who play the various icons are all alumni of Six

In conclusion, while “Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World” may have its flaws, it still manages to inspire and uplift audiences with its powerful storytelling and talented cast. With a few adjustments to its narrative structure, the production has the potential to truly shine as a celebration of female empowerment and historical legacy. In any eventuality, it was fantastic to see so many young children at the show and loving every moment and this in itself is a massive achievement.

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World concludes its UK tour at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal on Saturday 16th March 2024.

Photography throughout from Pamela Raith.






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