Review: Hit TV show Band of Gold takes to Milton Keynes stage in compelling style
Bev Creagh reviews Band of Gold at Milton Keynes Theatre
Kay Mellor’s Band of Gold shines brightly when its spunky leading ladies – all members of the world’s oldest professions - stride the stage.
It’s an adaption of her multi award winning TV series which gripped the nation with its whodunnit theme. It's a dark tale of Northern grit, of good girls gone bad for a variety of reasons, the men in their lives – abusive husbands, untrustworthy lovers, loan sharks and punters - and the often witty underbelly of life on the game.
The action crackles and sparkles within an extremely clever set reminiscent of dark satanic mills. It morphs from the dangerous red light ‘lane’ where the girls tout for business into a flat, a seedy bar and a glamorous apartment.
Rose (an excellent performance from Gaynor Faye, best known as Megan Macey in Emmerdale) rules her patch with a rod of iron. She’s feisty, funny and down to earth but dreams of the daughter she gave up for adoption 18 years ago coming to look for her.
Then there’s Anita, played by Laurie Brett who was Jane Beale in EastEnders. She thinks she’s a cut above the rest because she’s living in a posh apartment paid for by abrasive local businessman George (brilliantly played in belligerent bulldog fashion by Mark Sheals, most recently seen in Coronation Street). Unknown to him, she lets it out to the girls on nights he’s not visiting. And unknown to her, he’s seeing someone else and is tiring of her constant demands to ditch his wife and marry her.
Emma Osman is Carol, obsessed with cleaning and determined to ensure her daughter has a better life.
And Gina (Sacha Parkinson) is only on the game to pay off a loan she took to make ends meet after throwing out her abusive husband Steve, a convincingly menacing performance from Hollyoaks star Kieron Richardson.
Joe Mallalieu is oily loan shark Mr Moore, another first rate cameo role.
But award-winning ex Coronation Street actor Shayne Ward is disappointing as Inspector Newall. His voice projection wasn’t good on first night and there was no chemistry between him and his alleged former partner, statuesque Afro-haired Carol.
This is theatre at its best – compelling, dramatic and utterly gripping. But not for the faint hearted. Nor those who have difficulty deciphering the Northern accent.
* Band of Gold is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday, March 14. Call 0844 871 7652 to book.