Reviewed by Joanna Woodburn
Band of Gold is the World Stage Production of Kay Mellor’s much hailed television series of the same name and is now playing at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham.
The Theatre Royal, Nottingham is located right in the city centre and is both an intimate and regal venue. The theatre presents a range of high class, unforgettable performances including musicals from the West End and touring drama. The nearest car park is Q-Park on Talbot Street (postcode NG1 5GG) a 3-minute walk away. Audiences can get reduced rates by pre-booking a Parking Voucher with the Theatre Royal.
For those who did not have the pleasure of seeing the original television crime drama, which had 15 million viewers riveted per week in the 90s, Band of Gold is about the journeys of a group of sex workers, Rose, Anita, Carol and Gina, who demonstrate both incredible strength and vulnerability. Band of Gold takes the viewer through a range of emotions – sadness to joyfulness – whilst showing how a young mother can be so easily sucked into the unsavoury and dangerous area of prostitution in a broken society. There is a killer about and all must be on high alert if they do not wish to perish!
The highly talented cast includes Gaynor Faye (Emmerdale, Playing the Field, Calendar Girls), Laurie Brett (EastEnders, Waterloo Road, Les Miserables) and introduces Emma Osman. These three superb dramatists play the lead female roles of Rose, Anita and Carol and are joined by Sacha Parkinson (Mr. Selfridge, The Mill) as Gina. In addition, the show has heralded television stars Shayne Ward (Coronation Street, Rock of Ages, X Factor winner) as Inspector Newall, Kieron Richardson (Hollyoaks, Heartbeat) who plays Steve and Andrew Dunn (Dinnerladies, Coronation Street) as Ian. There are a further seven exceptionally strong company members, which adds even more depth to this inspired cast.
In this fast-moving production, we are introduced to vulnerable Gina, who has both a violent husband and a serious debt problem. It is a toxic combination and in desperation, she turns to sex workers, Anita, Rose and Carol for support. As Gina enters their world it is evident it is the sex workers who truly care for her, they are given a voice and are at the heart of this brilliant play.
Kay Mellor’s compassion and understanding for the characters and the lives they lead shines through in her brilliant script writing. The result is a gritty and realistic depiction, sure to capture audiences from start to finish. The star-studded cast make the most of every single minute, really putting their heart and souls into their portrayals, commanding attention with sensitive and passionate performances and outstanding, dynamic acting.
The staging is highly effective. The minimalistic and realistic sets and impressive lighting and smoke effects add considerable atmosphere to the play, and ensures audiences are completely engaged and allowed to let their imaginations run free! The use of sound and lighting helps to emulate fear and panic in the dark and dangerous red-light district and at times it is what is not seen that is the most terrifying.
Band of Gold truly has something for everyone. Gripping and gritty, blending tragedy with marvellous dark humour, it is a thought-provoking must see!
Tickets cost from £17.50 to £39.50 (booking fees may apply).
Band of Gold is at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham from 14-18 January 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.trch.co.uk or call the box office on 0115 989 5555.
Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Theatre Square, Nottingham, NG1 5ND