Reviewed by Claire Giles
Based on the controversial tv series that aired in the mid 1990’s Kay Mellor’s adaptation of Band of Gold for the stage is still as hard hitting and gritty as fans of the show would expect.
We watched the show at The Grand Theatre & Opera House in Leeds. The Grand is based in Leeds City Centre so easily accessible by car or public transport. There is plenty of payable car parking nearby. The staff were all very friendly and helpful.
Centred around four main female characters Carol, Rose, Anita and Gina. They all have their own stories that have led them to become working girls on ‘The Lane’ in Bradford. Anita (EastEnders Laurie Brett) the mummy figure of the group who is in denial about what she really is. She has convinced herself that her married lover is her boyfriend when he is just using her. She allows the girls to use her flat (for a charge) and waits around to make sure they are safe. Rose (Emmerdale’s Gaynor Faye) a heroin addict with a quick temper who runs ‘The Lane’ and who works there. Haunted about the daughter she had taken away as a baby by ‘the social’. Carol (Emma Osman) the hard-hitting single mum who has been a working girl since 14. She is doing this to take care of her daughter and give her a better life. Gina (Sacha Parkinson) the recently separated single mum after throwing out her abusive husband. She has taken out a loan from a loan shark and is struggling to make the ever-changing repayments. Whilst trying to make a living as an Avon girl a chance encounter with Carol and her mounting debts lead to her reluctantly becoming a working girl.
Although the storyline was set up as a lot of mini scenes allowing the storylines of each character to run alongside the main story you were kept gripped as the drama was fast moving. The set was simple and dark as you would expect but cleverly allowed the scenes to change quickly. Most of the drama was hard hitting and sometimes sinister but some humour was slotted in there as well. There were some brilliant one liners and Curly the punter, with a fetish for stockings and stilettos, was hilarious and horrifying at the same time. The characters were believable and as their stories came alive on stage you really felt for them and their struggles. All the actresses playing the four main characters gave outstanding performances.
Right from the beginning when a pre-recorded message from Kay Mellor apologised for the bad language and warned that this was set at a time still overshadowed by the Yorkshire Rippers murder spree you were given an insight into what to expect. Though set in the 1990’s a lot of the themes are still relevant today debt, spousal abuse, addiction and mothers doing their all for their children. Although societies attitude has changed to a lot of these themes, they still exist which makes it all the more shocking and thoughtful.
Tickets cost from £12 to £39 (booking fees may apply).
Kay Mellor’s Band of Gold is at The Grand Theatre in Leeds from 28 November to 14 December 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.leedsgrandtheatre.com or call the box office on 0844 848 2700.
Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House, 46 New Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6NZ | 0844 848 2700