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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke

REVIEW: THE DRIFTERS GIRL @ THE GARRICK

🎭 THE DRIFTERS GIRL

📍 Garrick Theatre, 2 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0HH

🗓 Thursday 2nd June 2022

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A WEST END PHENOMENON


The Drifters Girl tells the relatively unknown story of Faye Treadwell. She was the woman behind the decades long success (and the ups and downs) of The Drifters, one of the greatest vocal groups of all time.


This world premiere cast is lead by the fantastic Beverley Knight who stars as Treadwell. We learn how she was plucked from obscurity to lead the group through many personnel changes as well as the dizzy heights of stardom alongside crushing lows, as well as dealing with personal tragedy. She meets many obstacles along the way, from being a female in a male dominated industry to touring the UK as an African American. All of which are portrayed with heartbreaking realism.


Knight is often regarded as Britains best ever soul singer and watching her perform live, for me, confirms this. She has a unique voice and she uses this powerful instrument to its fullest. Not only belting big numbers, but the elegance and calmness of her voice portrays just the right emotions at the right time and moves you to tears.


What is great about this show is that it in no way feels that it has been built around Knight, but rather it is an ensemble piece which means that this show should continue for a long time, even when she leaves on 2nd July.


Adam J Bernard plays Faye's tragic husband George Treadwell (& others). The relationship between the two is played out with love and sensitivity and his smooth vocals throughout the show never faulter.


Curtis Scott (covering Matt Henry) as Clyde McPhatter, Lover Paterson (& others) brings a real upbeat energy to the show which never dips and he is likeable, even when his characters are not favourable!


The vocal powerhouse that is Tarinn Callender portrays Johnny Moore, Gerhart Paterson (& others) and as soon as he starts singing, you stand up and take notice! His voice just makes you feel warm inside and his charisma oozes from the stage throughout.


For me though, the standout performance was from Tosh Wanogho-Maud as Ben E. King, Rudy Lewis (& others). He is a real vocal and physical chameleon, changing every aspect of his voice and physicality with each character he portrays. His rendition of Stand By Me gave me goosebumps and you fall in love with each and every version of him that you see. For me, I would now go and see a production just because Wanogho-Maud was in it as I would be excited to see what he would bring to any future role.


The quick changes of all four as they transition from character to character and from singing to story telling is impeccable. The set design is wonderful and exactly right for what this show needs. Not over complicated or over simplified. You can tell it has been very well thought through as has the lighting design.


The company is completed by one of five young girls who play Treadwell's daughter. On this occasion it was Savanna Musoni, who was very believable for such a young performer.


I also wanted to give a special mention to Ethan Davis, who was covering Callender when I first saw this production in February of this year. He brought a whole different energy to the show & had a great voice. I would love to see him in a permanent role if the opportunity arose.


This show will have you singing along, crying with both laughter and emotion and dancing in the aisles. If you're in London, then surely this show has to be on your must-see list.


There was nothing I didn't love about this show!


My tickets were purchased through the TodayTix app and we had great seats at even better prices. This app is well worth downloading for grabbing same day theatre tickets in the West End.


The show is currently booking until 12/02/23 and the phenomenal world premiere cast recording is now available on Spotify. I've been playing it on repeat all weekend!


Neill Kovacic-Clarke


Please note: all views are my own and I pride myself on being honest and free from influence.



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