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Volunteering for a hospital radio has meant that I am very familiar with The Drifters. Their songs are popular with the patients, with Under the Boardwalk a firm favourite of mine too!

The group has had lots of great hits and performed in front of audiences worldwide so many people are familiar with them. However not so many know the story of the woman behind the band, known as The Drifters Girl, which has been turned into the hit musical. I was lucky enough to see it at The Bristol Hippodrome on Wednesday night.

Starring award-winning musical big hitter Carly Mercedes Dyer as Faye Treadwell, the show is a tantalising glimpse into the tenacious women who prevailed in a male dominated industry to lead The Drifters to success.

Dyer stole the show, and dominated every scene, much like Faye Treadwell must have done in real life. She had immense stage presence and managed to portray the sheer grit and determination Faye had to carry on after her husband and co-manager’s death and ensure the success of the band.

The whole cast consisted of just six actors, of whom four played the changing members of The Drifters (I never realised how many members had been part of the band), and all the other people the band met along the way.

Daniel Haswell, Tarik Frimpong, Ashford Campbell, of The X Factor fame, and Miles Anthony Daley (who also played George Treadwell) were fantastic in all the roles, and really bought the band to life.

They sang the popular songs with enthusiasm and I suspect even The Drifters themselves would have been impressed. Listening to these guys sing the hits from the band was like a warm hug, which was certainly needed on a very cold night in Bristol!

The cast was completed by Jaydah Bell- Ricketts, who played the Treadwell’s daughter. There was many a sweet moment between her and Dyer, as the story of the Drifters is told through a mother/daughter conversation.

The set is simple but very effective, with spinning discs, moving lights and a lot of use of silhouettes of the band dancing on the backdrop. The simplicity of the stage enabled the audience to focus on the music, and dynamics of the band with their manager.

By the end of the show the whole audience were on their feet, singing along to the songs. I highly recommend going to see this production as it will definitely put a smile on your face!

The Drifters Girl plays Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday, January 13. Online tickets from £13 plus booking fee from

Laura Durrant

Ashford Campbell as Ben E. King (2).JPG

Treading the boardwalk

Carly Mercedes Dyer as Faye Treadwell (3).JPG
Carly Mercedes Dyer as Faye Treadwell and Miles Anthony Daley as George Treadwell (3).JPG
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