Last night the Bloke and I were invited to the press night of Band of Gold at the Alexandra Theatre.
Written by the award-winning Kay Mellor, the nail-biting thriller was inspired by 10 months of research in Bradford and Leeds into the world of sex workers. Set in 90’s Yorkshire, Band of Gold tells the story of a group of women – Carol, Rose, Anita and Gina – as they battle to survive whilst working in a notorious red-light district. When one of their colleagues is murdered, they need to find the killer before they strike again.
I remember the gripping ITV series on which the stage adaptation is based (with bookmakers taking bets on the identity of the killer), but not enough to remember who the perpetrator was. Regardless, I was excited to see this in particular based on the casting alone, starring some of the most recognisable faces on television.
With the ever-fantastic Gaynor Faye as Rose, Virginia Byron as Anita, Emma Osman as Carol, Olwen May as Joyce, Sacha Parkinson as Gina, Kieron Richardson as Steve, Andrew Dunn as Mr Barraclough, Joe Mallalieu as Mr Moore, Mark Sheals as George and Shane Ward as Inspector Newhall, each member of the cast gave a thrilling performance. The four main characters were clearly realised and their sisterly bond was evident both in their individual narratives and the way that they interacted as their stories became woven together. It is worth saying that I was blown away with Emma Osman’s portrayal as the sassy Carol (especially as this is her first tour), whose versatility took the audience through every range of emotion and provided a large amount of the comic release from the underlying tension, delivering one liners in a thick northern accent. Her reactions during her scenes with Curly – played by Steve Garti – and his rather unusual interests were particularly hilarious.
The set, designed by Janet Bird, was cleverly used to frame each scene beautifully, with slick changes that incorporated both crew and cast members, and combined with effective lighting from Jason Taylor and sound from Mic Pool, there are multiple scenes that allow for the action to unfold both on and off the stage at the same time.
With the running time being just over two hours, it is inevitable that such a complex series of stories doesn’t provide the opportunity for all of the cast to have as much stage time as they individually deserve, and I found that the plot was concluded rather quickly at the end. However, Band of Gold is a gritty and thrilling show and the perfect example of Kay Mellor at her very best.
Band of Gold is on stage at the Alexandra Theatre until Saturday 15th February. To purchase your tickets, visit here.
Disclaimer: The Bloke and I were given complimentary tickets to the show, but were under no obligation to provide a positive review.