Last night, I spent a couple of hours back in time wrapping my head around the complex story of The Drifters. As I share my review of The Drifters Girl Musical at the Opera House, Manchester, bear with me. Because this show was a million miles away from what I thought it would be. But in a good way.
When a band is a little before your time, you accept the band for the music. For me, it is the latest of their hits. But there’s so much more to the story of The Drifters, the band and the powerhouse of a woman behind this ever-evolving group.
What You Will Find Here
Review of The Drifters Girl
About The Drifters
“The Drifters” is a well-known American R&B group with several iterations and line-up changes. Formed in 1953 by Clyde McPhatter, also the lead vocalist for the popular group The Dominoes. Initially, The Drifters were created as a backing group for McPhatter, but they eventually became a successful act in their own right.
They had a series of hits during the 1950s and 1960s. Some of their most famous songs include “There Goes My Baby,” “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “Under the Boardwalk,” and “Up on the Roof.” These songs are considered classics in the R&B genre and continue to be popular today.
The group underwent numerous lineup changes over the years, and different members contributed to its success. This fluidity in the group’s membership led to various eras in their music, with different lead singers and stylistic shifts.
What Is The Drifters Girl About?
Yes, The Drifters Girl is based on the Drifters, but they are not the story’s main focus. The story is about Faye Treadwell (Loren Anderson), the wife of the Drifters’ manager, George Treadwell (Miles Anthony Daley). How they met, and she fought to keep the name “The Drifters” despite continuous lineup changes, tragedies and dramas.
It looks at the challenges businesswomen had in that era. But also people of colour and their struggles to be treated as equals in a society where their personal contribution was huge. Also, how Faye Treadwell had to fight as a working woman and mother to keep hold of a business she had worked too hard to build.
My Review of The Drifters Girl
Faye Treadwell looks back on her life as she tells her daughter, The Girl (Jaydah Bell-Ricketts), the story of the Treadwell Drifters and how she became the only black female record promoter of the time, against the odds but also with a band that, over the years, had over 60 different vocalists.
And there is the difficulty: how does a producer coordinate a cast of over 70, with only six principles, the rest playing small parts? The genius of the show is that it’s a cast of 6. Miles Anthony Daley, Ashford Campbell, Tarik Frimpong, and Dalton Harris playing the lion’s share. Moving between many of the 60 Drifters, bar staff, hotel receptionists, music producers, executives and taxi drivers.
It’s all a bit bonkers but so clever. At times brings a comedic element to the story, others moving fast between the everchanging Drifers. It shouldn’t work, but it does. It sometimes makes the story intense as you work out who is who. But once you relax and go with the flow, it’s joyous.
The cast has talent and charisma in bundles, making this such a wonderful, joy-filled show.
Where can you see The Drifters Girl?
You can see The Drifters Girl until the 14th of October at the Opera House Manchester with tickets from £13.00.
Then The Drifters Girl UK Tour is Showing At
- Milton Keynes Theatre, Tue 24 Oct – Sat 28 Oct 2023
- New Victoria Theatre, Woking, Tue 21 Nov – Sat 25 Nov 2023
- Bristol Hippodrome, Tue 9 Jan – Sat 13 Jan 2024
- Liverpool Empire, Tue 27 Feb – Sat 2 Mar 2024
- New Theatre Oxford, Tue 5 Mar – Sat 9 Mar 2024
- Sunderland Empire, Tue 26 Mar – Sat 30 Mar 2024
- King’s Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 9 Apr – Sat 13 Apr 2024
- Edinburgh Playhouse, Tue 30 Apr – Sat 4 May 2024
- Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, Tue 16 Jan – Sat 20 Jan 2024
Please note I was gifted the tickets in return for an honest review; see more theatre reviews here.