Reviewed by Rosemary Knight
Yesterday evening I went to The Lowry theatre in Salford Quays, Manchester to watch Melanie Blake’s The Thunder Girls, which is a brilliant celebration of the power of feisty women. The stellar female cast stars the magnificent Beverley Callard as Roxanne, Carol Harrison as Chrissie, Coleen Nolan as Anita and Sandra Marvin as Carly. To complete the all women creative team, the show is directed by Joyce Branagh.
On arrival we were welcomed to the Quays Theatre at The Lowry by the staff who are always extremely helpful and efficient. I must say it is a pleasure to visit this venue so regularly as it is clean, modern, spacious and has excellent transport links and parking facilities. We always try to see as many shows there as we possibly can.
The Thunder Girls is all about powerful women. A successful 1980s girl band disbanded when Chrissie, the lead singer, decided to betray her friends and quit to follow a solo career, taking with her their manager Rick, who also just happened to be Roxanne’s boyfriend. Thirty years and lots of acrimony later, the four women, all now in their fifties, meet up again for a very eventful evening at Chrissie’s mansion. The four women have all suffered in different ways. Roxanne is living with her son and is on the breadline, Anita has faced ridicule over her disastrous performance at the Eurovision Song Contest and is now living anonymously in Spain, Carly feels she too has been cheated financially by Chrissie and is living with her unsupportive husband and Chrissie has been conned out of her wealth by her new toyboy husband. Many of us would feel that Chrissie has finally got her just deserts.
The four women meet up to discuss reuniting for a final three-night performance at Wembley Stadium which could solve all their financial problems, but not everyone is in favour of this. The women have to decide whether they can forgive the former betrayals and forge new friendships.
The Thunder Girls is an adaptation of Melanie Blake’s bestselling novel and shows what goes on behind the scenes in the toxic world of pop music. Melanie is certainly an expert in this field as she has worked in pop for many years, managing famous stars and witnessing at first hand the personal relationships of the rich and famous. The play is extremely funny with many beautifully bitchy lines and hilarious laugh loud moments. I loved the scene where Roxanne slaps Chrissie and dives on her, ruining Chrissie’s designer dress in the process.
The cast are superb. Beverley Callard is famous for her role in Coronation Street and is an incredibly talented actor. I believe that she completely stole the show in her portrayal of down to earth Roxanne. Sandra Marvin and Coleen Nolan have fabulously powerful singing voices and Carol Harrison played selfish Chrissie to perfection.
The beauty of The Thunder Girls is that women of all ages, but especially ones of a similar age to the characters, can relate to the storyline. It shows that the true power of long-lasting friendship and forgiveness can ultimately shine after betrayal. The capacity audience of predominantly women loved this performance, as did I.
Tickets cost from: SOLD OUT
The Thunder Girls is at The Lowry in Manchester from 24-28 September 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000