Review: Band of Gold
Band of Gold
As a younger actor I played ‘Man with Dog’, a character who discovered the first body in a new TV drama – Band of Gold. Written by Kay Mellor, this ground-breaking programme became one of the must-watch series of the 90s. 25 years after the TV release, Mellor has adapted the story for the stage, with an impressive cast of TV faces bringing the characters to life once again.
Band of Gold revolves around a group of women – Carol, Rose, Anita and Gina – who work the Lane to survive. Gina is the conduit into this view of life within Bradford’s red-light district as she is forced into prostitution to pay off her ever-increasing loan shark debt. With a killer on the loose it’s a dangerous career path to take.
The focus of the story is on the three leading roles: Gaynor Faye and Laurie Brett are suitably strong as Rose and Anita, and Emma Osman in her first tour perfectly captures the feistiness (and vulnerability) of Carol. Sacha Parkinson conveys the desperation of Gina caught in this dangerous world, but these roles aside, there are surprisingly brief appearances by the rest of the cast. Kieron Richardson is a nasty piece of work as wife abuser Steve and Shayne Ward makes a couple of appearances in Act Two as Lane ally Inspector Newall, but these male characters fall into the shadows in this female-dominated society.
Janet Bird’s stage design and Hal Lindes’ original music certainly build the tension and capture the atmosphere of the time, but with constant scene changes it becomes difficult to focus on the action, as we are distracted by the sliding screens every few minutes. This is an impressive cast; the production looks great; and the script ensures the killer’s identity is not obvious until the reveal, but the grit and grip of the original TV drama is missing, making the evening feel long.
Lyric Theatre, Lowry: Jan 21st – 25th 2020: More here
Published: 23-Jan-2020 (5727)