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The Company of The Drifters Girl 2 1

The Drifters Girl offers "singalong" moments at His Majesty's Theatre. Image - Supplied by Aberdeen Performing Arts

I always think the sign of a good musical is when you wake up the next morning with the songs still playing round in your head and that was exactly my how my day began.

Last night a packed house at His Majesty’s Theatre saw a small cast of just six performers tell the big story of the legendary rhythm and blues group The Drifters through the eyes of the strong central character Faye Treadwell (Carly Mercedes Dyer) affectionately known as ‘The Drifters Girl’ - the shows namesake.

Faye, wife of the late George Treadwell - who originally formed the band and laid claims to The Drifters name – relays the tale through the eyes of an African American woman who faces all the challenges and prejudice of being a woman of colour working in what was very much a man’s world.

It’s an empowering story that skips along nicely to the beat of the music which, for me, was what brought the show to life. With more than 25 of the group's memorable hits, there is no doubt that the doo-wop sounds, melodies and songs which made the band famous on both sides of the Atlantic are just as infectious today as they were 70 years ago when the group first formed.

Carly Mercedes Dyer as Faye Treadwell and Miles Anthony Daley as George Treadwell 1

Carly Mercedes Dyer as Faye Treadwell and Miles Anthony Daley as George Treadwell in The Drifters Girl at HMT. Image - Supplied by Aberdeen Performing Arts.

They added atmosphere and context to the narrative and also provided many in the audience with ‘singalong’ moments when their favourite hits like Stand By Me, Kissin’ in the Back Row of the Movies and Come On Over to My Place were blasted out by the cast.

The set is cleverly designed, and the visual style depicts the nostalgia of the 1950s in a TV set and jukebox style which adapts simply into the 60s and early 70s through the use of colour and shadow dancers.

The costumes are colourful, classy and portray the band’s journey through time, matching the era and the events within the plot of this lively musical. Faye’s outfits, in particular, were stunning and oh-so stylish and help you get a feel for the force that was the lady behind the band.

All of the cast members have great voices and there is fantastic use of their acting and vocal talents in the many character parts they play in the production.

It is fast paced and at times I found it hard to catch the narrative over the sound of the instrumental sequences. However, having approached the show with very little knowledge of the band or their story I left wanting to learn more about this legendary group who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and performed for the President of the USA at the White House in 1993.

Miles Anthony Daley Tarik Frimpong Ashford Campbell Tré Copeland Williams as The Drifters 3

Recreating the magic of The Drifters in The Drifters Girl at His Majesty's. Image - Supplied by Aberdeen Performing Arts

The Drifters story is, I am sure, far more complex than the time allowed to tell it in this musical. Also, the show has a very light touch to the themes it picks up on, but let’s face it there is only so much you can do in two hours and 15 minutes running time (including an interval).

The sheer number of people who played a part in their extensive career and production of their back catalogue could put a very different spin on the yarn, which is what makes The Drifters and the success they achieved even more fascinating.

The show opens with the line “Sing something else for me!” and that’s very much what I wanted when the curtain fell on this great production which is sure to bring Drifters fans (old and new) out in their droves.

For more information and tickets for The Drifters Girl at His Majesty’s Theatre visit here

Review by Shona Byrne