I will listen to “Deeds Not Words” on repeat until further notice.

Credit: Pamela Raith

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World is an electrifying new musical based on the children’s book written by Kate Pankhurst. It highlights the lives of women who made history, but it is so much more than that – it’s about finding your voice, believing in yourself, and supporting other women. It is directed by Amy Hodge and currently on at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. 

The show is set during a school trip to a museum, where a young student named Jade ends up getting lost. When she decides to venture into the restricted east wing, she excitingly meets historically famous women, from Sacagawea to Rosa Parks. These women, through fabulous songs and with lots of heart, help Jade determine how she wants to make her mark in the world.

Credit: Pamela Raith

It is extremely important for younger audiences, particularly girls, to see Fantastically Great Women. It shows how far we have come for women’s rights and recognition and how far we still have to go. It is extremely inspirational while being careful to avoid the “women are superheroes” trope. It lets young girls know they don’t have to change the world by themselves. They emphasised that these women, while remarkable, usually accomplished what they did with the help of others. They also did not achieve things for the sake of recognition; they created paths so that those after them do not have to work as hard as they did.

Every actress had their individual times to shine and all supported each other, giving the show a Six-esque vibe (which makes sense as they have one of the same producers). This vocal and choreographic support is a beautiful metaphor for the support women are and should be giving each other so that they can all thrive. The night I went Elize Zavou, a swing, performed as Jade, who is usually played by Kudzai Mangombe. Zavou’s voice is awesome, and her comedic timing is impeccable. A lot of children will relate to Jade, as she is struggling with typical adolescent issues. (She is tired of following the rules, her parents are getting a divorce, she is at a new school, and she is longing for a puppy.) The rest of the cast did a wonderful job personifying the famous women from around the world. Renee Lamb (Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, Mary Seacole, Miss Ashley) is a delight to watch with her killer facial expressions. Her performance as Rosa Parks healed something inside of me. Christina Modestou (Gertrude Ederle, Jane Austen, Mary Anning, Miss Richards) has the voice of an angel and an impeccable New York accent. Jade Kennedy (Sacagawea, Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie, Miss Morris) shines as Frida Kahlo in her song “World of Colour.” Kirstie Skivington (Emmeline Pankhurst, Agent Fifi, Miss Johnson) is fierce and fabulous, and her performance of “Deeds Not Words” made me want to get out of my seat and march along with them for women’s rights.

Credit: Pamela Raith

The show is energetic, hilarious, and heartening. Though aimed at a younger audience, people of all ages will enjoy it, as it emphasises the importance for women to support, comfort, and inspire each other. Fantastically Great Women is on at Theatre Royal Stratford East until the 17th of July. It will then go to Canterbury before traveling to Edinburgh for the Festival Fringe. Go and see it at any of these venues – it is not to be missed!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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