Invisible no more: All-female cast shines in wartime musical

A photo of the cast of The Invisible—Agents of Ungentlemanly Warfare performing on stage CREDIT: EMILY COOPER
The all-female cast of The Invisible — Agents of Ungentlemanly Warfare carried the weight of a strong story.

The Grand Theatre presented the opening night of a suspenseful musical called The Invisible—Agents of Ungentlemanly Warfare on Jan. 19. The all-female cast that carried the weight of such a strong story were able to paint a picture of one of their most dangerous missions. This musical from the creators of Vigilante, is a two-hour and 30-minute production that takes place on the Spriet Stage until Feb. 3.

Featuring seven women who play an important role in fighting for their country, this musical is a story of how they became The Invisible. It chronicles their journey in preparations of leaving England to France, and most importantly, what really happened on their mission. The beginning of the musical showcases Melissa MacPherson in all her glory acting as Evelyn Ash (Assistant to the head of Special Operations), who reports to her male superior the brilliant idea of having an all-female agent team. The thought behind this proposal was that no one would suspect a group of women to be on a mission to fight for their country. At that point, any agents that were sent from England to France only lasted for a six-week mission and were greatly endangered during World War II. After long consideration and battles between Evelyn and her superior, she finally gets the green light.

Shortly after that, the search begins for Evelyn to find the right group of women that had what it took to fight for England.

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It should be noted that the only prop that was used throughout this entire production was a wooden chair that each of the drafted agents had and the backdrops were kept in a very minimalistic manner. The backdrop that really caught my eye was when the map of England became covered with red bombs. All that said, the story that was produced simply by these women’s voices and didn’t need any props or extravagant set pieces, primarily due to their compelling and captivating performances.

Although the peak of the production was their actual mission in France, I really enjoyed the introduction of the six women drafted by Evelyn. In cast member Sarah Nairne’s (Madeline Barré) words, the beginning was indeed very “episodic.” The introduction of the women all had a back story of where they were from and why they were interested in completing such a dangerous mission. When the introductions took place, I admired the instrumental music in the background that gave a very investigative- television-show vibe to the theatre. If I were to close my eyes, the suspenseful music would’ve tricked me into believing that I was in an NCIS episode.

After all the preparations, Evelyn believes that her team is ready to depart for France. Spoiler alert, they are! All six women, Dorothy, Jacqueline, Madeline, Betty, Szarlotta, and Anna, were able to stay safe and undercover for months which was much longer than any other agent team.

If you’re itching to know if they made it back to England or not, unfortunately the answer is no. One of the heart-wrenching parts throughout the production was that they don’t make it home, not because they aren’t ready or prepared enough or that they did anything wrong. They do everything right, even Anna, who is known as the weaker agent, still followed protocol.

The remainder of the production includes Evelyn going to France herself to find out what exactly happened to her six girls.

This production is not one to miss if you’re interested in suspenseful, war-related content. As a female, the feeling that came from watching an all-female group take on the dangerous forces presented in the setting of WWII, was empowering. Sixteen musical acts that each told a story I can still hear in my head. I can specifically hear Nairne’s voice in her character’s first musical number “Maybe, Just Maybe.”

Tickets are available now at