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Review | The Drifters Girl | Manchester Opera House| 11/10/2023

The story follows the rise of The Drifters and their manager Faye Treadwell. As a black, female manager in the 1960’s she truly was a trailblazer, and this is her story.

Usually played by the incomparable Carly Mercedes Dyer, Loren Anderson was covering the role for the Manchester press night. Covers, swings and understudies are the backbone of this industry, and it was great to see Anderson get to cover the lead role of Faye Treadwell on press night. Her scene acting was enjoyable and believable, but was harder to connect with through much of the music. It will be interesting to see how she will develop the role as the tour continues.

She was supported by the incredible Miles Anthony Daley, Ashford Campbell, Dalton Harris and Tarik Frimpong, all of which multi-role wonderfully throughout the show. They harmonise beautifully and are a joy to watch from beginning to end. Campbell in particular was sensational in his show stealing performance of ‘Stand By Me.’ This was completely rearranged from the version we know to add depth to the scene, and was done so beautifully. Other songs are performed more typically as group numbers which are traditionally choreographed by Karen Brice, capturing the spirit of the famous band. Even with a simplistic basic set and a cast of 6 actors, it proved that you don’t need a huge cast to pull off a slick musical.

There is a lot of humour, with comedic regional accents getting the biggest laughs of the night as we follow The Drifters across the UK. Whilst themes of racism and sexism within the music industry are touched on, it would have been interesting to see these explored more fully in the narrative. Moments where men play women for laughs felt a little dated and unnecessary. However, the story isn’t the reason people will buy tickets, it’s the incredible music! The music is the true star of the show, jam packed full of hits that had much of the audience dancing in their seats. Whether you know the music or not it is impossible not to enjoy it, with over 20 classic hits weaved through the show.

Closing the show with a hit filled mega-mix, the crowd were on their feet dancing along to the classic songs. Fans of Jersey Boys and Ain’t Too Proud will love The Drifter’s Girl and can catch it at Manchester Opera House until Saturday 14 October 2023. See below for booking information

Photo Credit: The Other Richard

Note: My ticket was gifted. Irrespective of whether a show is gifted or bought, I always ensure that my reviews are fair and based on my honest opinion alone.


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