Yet another smash-hit West End show is visiting the New Victoria Theatre in Woking this week.

Nominated for Best New Musical at the 2022 Olivier Awards, The Drifters Girl is set to entertain even more audiences up and down the country with its UK and Ireland tour.

The show tells the story of the incredible journey of The Drifters, the legendary American rhythm and blues/soul group, who had hundreds of hit records across the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s with their remarkable manager Faye Treadwell at the helm.

As the first African-American female music manager, Faye had to overcome many hurdles, with legal battles, personal tragedy, racist and sexist abuse, and the guilt of being a working woman and mother in 1950s America, but she never gave up on her beloved group.

Taking on the daunting task of portraying Faye’s dominant and confident character is Carly Mercedes Dyer, who was up for an Olivier as Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical for her rave-reviewed turn in Anything Goes.

Featuring in many musicals, such as Chicago, Dreamgirls, West Side Story and Six, Carly has a wealth of experience to bring to the role, with powerful vocals to match.

The story was fast-paced from the start, with a nod to each band member and the many ups and downs throughout The Drifters' career.

At times this was hard to keep up with, but the constant set, costume and character changes can only be applauded with a cast of just six. The character changes also added humour and allowed each cast member to showcase their various vocal styles.

For me, the stand-out performances came from Ashford Campbell, as Rudy Lewis and Ben E King, and Tarik Frimpong as Clyde McPhatter and Lover Patterson. Their energy was infectious and Campbell’s solo performance of Stand By Me was the hit of the night.

The audience were tapping their feet to endless hits, such as Saturday Night At The Movies and Save The Last Dance For Me. As soon as allowed everyone was on their feet, dancing and clapping along with the final medley.

A whirlwind journey through the extraordinary and sometimes shocking history of The Drifters, it was another great night at the New Victoria Theatre.

Alex Woodbee