Leeds Grand Theatre (venue)
05 December 2019 (released)
05 December 2019
You might be familiar with Kay Mellor's Band of Gold from the TV series of the same name. The stage version has its premiere in Leeds which is not surprising as the play is set in neighbouring Bradford.
Set in the early 90's this newly adapted version is a slow burner. There is a lot of sub plots going on with a lot of things tied up very quickly towards the end of the second half, it seemed to be a little rushed.
A lot of issues are touched upon including mental health, drug problems, depression, survival, controlling men, corruption and money problems - the latter the main cause of what draws the women in Band of Gold into prostitution.
The cast is fantastic and the characters are so believable- you felt like you could identify with most of them.
Laurie Brett as Anita is at times gullible, thinking that George (Mark Sheals) will eventually leave his wife and settle down with her. Gaynor Faye as Rose is sassy and street wise whilst Sacha Parkinson as Gina is innocent but drawn into prostitution through lack of money and an abusive ex husband Steve (Kieron Richardson).
Joe Mallalieu as loan shark Mr Moore is a typical controlling man who takes advantage of people who are vulnerable. His snarling attitude and manipulation was spot on.
Olwen May as Gina's mother, Joyce played an emotional part but even she had to answer to her husband and be at his beck and call.
Emma Osman shone as Carol, the tough cookie who had to provide for her child. Andrew Dunn might be better known for his roles in Coronation Street and Dinner Ladies but as Ian Barraclough there is a twist to his character which you will discover in this gripping drama.
Steve Garth as Curly portrays the middle aged man to a tee with his frustration and Kinky ways.
If you are going to see the play Thinking Shayne Ward is going to be present throughout you might be disappointed to discover he is only in the second half as Inspector Newall, because of this you never get to know his character in detail.
The stage set is simple but the scenes move with ease, the dark setting and lighting is sympathetically done whilst the pub could be one of a number of Bradford pubs during the era the drama is set in - it is very realistic.
Despite the topic which Band of Gold is all about there is no nudity, the language is in tune with the people involved but most of all I found it gripping, well written and one to hold your attention.
Runs until 14 December
Telephone: 0844 848 2700