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Faye Treadwell and her husband took “The Drifters” to global recording stardom. This is their story, with a soundtrack of hits like “Under The Boardwalk” and “Stand By Me” thrown in.
Beverley Knight stars in the world premiere of this new compilation musical.
Beverley Knight does not appear on some dates, including 17th to 22nd January 2022. Cast details are given for information only, and theatremonkey.com cannot take responsibility for any details given.
(seen at the afternoon preview performance on 13th November 2021)
This is arguably one of the highest-quality musical biographical shows staged in London. The cast are unforgettable, direction, choreography, set, sound and lighting exceeding even the usual high standards of producers Michael Harrison and David Ian, not to mention their landlady and co-producer Nica Burns.
So why did the monkey end up awarding it a high three bananas and wishing it could find a fourth to match “Jersey Boys”? Two reasons: first, it lacked the emotional roller-coaster of Italian warmth melded with sporadic tragi-comic drama. Second, the Drifter’s back-catalogue simply isn’t in the same class (to the monkey mind) as that of the Four Seasons.
Both became noticeable very quickly at this show. The audience didn’t engage with the music until a good thirty minutes in when “Save The Last Dance For Me” at last had feet tapping, hands beating out a silent rhythm. Tosh Wanogho-Maud excels, then surpasses himself later on “Stand By Me.” From that moment, the audience become interested, and the show takes on a little pace.
A terrific “Rat Race” sequence deals with the many line-up changes for the group, who are more “New York Yankees” than a fixed band. There’s a couple of other golden moments with Johnny Moore (Tarinn Callender in the first of two dramatic exits) gets drafted, and a shaming British “Come On Over To Our Place” reminding us – as the projection has it – how recently “No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish” was an acceptable notice to run your hotel by.
We also get Beverley Knight as Faye Treadwell, the business brain behind the group giving her all. Dream vocal as always, but this time adding a deep and convincing characterisation who holds the lives of her performers and this show together in iron grip. As her daughter, young Amari Brown will probably lead the revival in a few decades – the child has the potential without doubt.
Matt Henry does his inimitable stuff with a dash of evil as ex-bandsman turned rival Lover Paterson.
There's a neat turn as Bruce Forsyth (really) gets the audience on-side and would have the great man chuckling.
Adam J Bernard has pathos playing George Treadwell and proves versatile as every male in the show plays multiple roles, not always of the same gender. Each is a tour-de-force of instant characterisations from them all.
Ed Curtis does his best to come up with an interesting story, but copyright arguments and two tragic premature deaths aside there isn’t a lot to play with. Still, using a mother / daughter combination to tell the tale is sufficient framing and Jonathan Church hits on enough directing inventions (the opening is a masterpiece) to keep it chugging, with the help of period Karen Bruce choreography.
Lacking much drama and with few classic songs there are lags, but this will please fans as well as give meaningful insight into the struggles of even the most successful Black enterprises, dice loaded against them at every turn. We absorb some genuine music history in palatable fashion, and if leaving perhaps not humming many of the tunes, certainly dazzled by the creativity that went into them and the show.
Stalls seats AA9 and 10. For some reason the stage is about a foot higher than usual and has also been extended outwards over a foot making viewing from the front row poor for 'The Drifters Girl.' When the cast are centre stage you may only see them from the upper thigh upwards and at the back of the stage, head and shoulders only. This is why they are the cheapest seats in the theatre for this show.
Bought a day seat for £25.00 and saw 'The Drifters Girl,' which was great.
The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.
Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Runs 2 hours 25 minutes approximately, including one interval.
No performances on 25th December 2021 and 1st January 2022.
23rd December 2021 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
24th December 2021 at 2.30pm only.
26th December 2021 at 4pm
30th December 2021 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
31st December 2021 at 2.30pm only.
Theatres use "dynamic pricing." Seat prices change according to demand for a particular performance. Prices below were compiled as booking originally opened. Current prices are advised at time of enquiry.
DAY SEATS: Available in person from NOON or online from 10am each day, price £25 each from www.nimaxtheatres.com.