We round up the reviews for the new musical which opens in London following a run in Newcastle.
WhatsOnStage: **** “What raises The Drifters Girl is the imagination of Jonathan Church’s production, fluently designed by Anthony Ward and lit by Ben Cracknell with fluorescent tubes dividing simple panels into different spaces. Fay Fullerton’s costumes are beautifully attentive to detail, taking the characters down the years, from the shiny tight suits of the ’50s to the gold flared trousers and wide lapels of their last heyday in the ’70s.”
The Guardian: ** “For fans of the Drifters, the music in itself may be enough but for those coming to it fresh, this show’s story is neither compelling nor clear enough.”
Evening Standard: ** “There’s a constant conflict between the adroit and the clumsy in Jonathan Church’s production. The staging is pleasingly simple, with a kaleidoscopic set of neon tubes, textured walls and video screens from Anthony Ward and well-drilled doo-wop dance routines from Karen Bruce. But oh dear, Ed Curtis’s script is awful, full of clunking exposition and bathos.”
Time Out: ** “There are two big problems with the story. One, even with Treadwell as the focus, Ed Curtis’s script never manages to make digestible sense of The Drifters’ churning ranks. Fair play, Jonathan Church’s production has some fun with the ridiculousness of the situation, but with the same four male actors playing all the roles, you effectively don’t know who most of the people on stage are supposed to be at any given time; many aren’t even named.”
iNews: *** “Bernard gives a sharp-edged twinkle to George Treadwell, original owner of the Drifters name, while Knight powers through undaunted by the fact that Faye perforce does not get to sing the best songs. Knight makes Faye 90 per cent ballsy work-oriented strength and 10 per cent family-focussed tenderness, while leaving a faint vapour of ambiguity as to what truly spurs her on.”
The Telegraph: *** “The Garrick Theatre’s new tale of Drifters manager Faye Treadwell is underwritten in parts, but the songs ring out magnificently.”
The Times: *** “How many tweaks does it take to make a hit musical? There’s so much to enjoy in this jukebox show, starring Beverley Knight, telling the story of one of pop’s longest-running institutions, the Drifters. The performances are excellent, and Jonathan Church’s direction is crisp and imaginative.”
London Theatre.co.uk: *** “Knight, of course, brings her own firepower, and the musical kicks into high gear whenever she has a solo number. It’s not just the vocal might, the big top notes and swooping riffs, but the way she invests each line with emotional authenticity — a blend of determination and doubt, joy and heartbreak. Never mind Tina down the road: she’s simply the best.”
The Daily Mail: **** “It’s immaculately drilled, with Karen Bruce’s snappy choreography synchronised with the signature harmonies, shuffling percussion and tooting brass.”
The Stage: *** “Beverley Knight leads a sublime cast in an otherwise slight musical about the pioneering manager of the Drifters.”
The Drifters Girl continues to play at the Garrick Theatre in November. To book tickets for the London run click here or visit: Love Theatre.com, Last Minute.com, From the Box Office, Theatre Tickets Direct or London Theatre Direct.