It’s a cold and windy night in Birmingham, The Alexandra welcomed Kay Mellor’s crime thriller, Band of Gold to the stage.
AD // I was gifted a pair of tickets to see Band of Gold in exchange for a review. All views and opinions are my own.
Having found success as a hit show on ITV back in the early 90s, Band of Gold has since been transformed into a gripping play, which follows the lives of a group of female sex workers who are trying to make ends meet by working on Bradford’s equivalent to the Red Light District.
Although it follows in the steps of the TV show, the play is more confined and whittled down to a two-hour performance that sees young mother Gina (played by Sacha Parkinson) who turns to life on the lane when she lands herself in debt with the notorious Mr Moore (Joe Mallalieu). Alongside trying to scrape together enough cash to raise her child and rid Moore from her life, vulnerable Gina is also dealing with her abusive, alcoholic husband, Steve (Kieron Richardson), who’s trying to find his way.
As tensions begin to build and Gina meets more clients along the way, the story takes a dark turn when she’s murdered and her fellow workers, Anita (Virginia Byron), Rose (Gaynor Faye) and Carol (Emma Osman) are left to try and discover who killed her.
Though occasionally a tough watch due to its subject matter, there’s much to be praised about Band of Gold. It has flecks of humour that’ll leave you belly laughing when you’re expecting the worst to come for one of the show’s most loveable characters, which is enough time to defusion the tension and prepare for the next wave of drama to hit.
The cast is particularly strong, too. While praise must be given heavily to Parkinson, Byron (who was covering for Eastenders actress, Laurie Brett) and Faye, it was Emma Osman who stole the show as the feisty Carol. Her performance was packed with emotion and clear delivery that really encased you in her story right from the get-go.
Other cast highlights were Hollyoaks star Kieron Richardson as Steve and Coronation Street’s Shane Ward as Inspector Newall, who both delivered powerful performances in their respective roles. The only critique I have is that I would have like to have seen more of them on-stage.
Raw, gripping and 120 minutes of rollercoaster storyline that puts its own twisted spin on the ‘who dunnit’, Band of Gold is yet another clean and well-executed piece of work by Kay Mellor that will please theatre-lovers for many years to come.
Band of Gold runs at The Alexandra in Birmingham until Saturday, March 15. Book tickets here.