We’ve been waiting a long while for THE DRIFTERS GIRL to make its way to South Wales, and now it’s final here at Wales Millennium Centre, it really was well worth the wait. Just one point to say early on, this is the last venue on the current tour, so catch it now while you can.

When the musical opened in London back in 2021 it was an instant hit with audiences and critics, it even went on to make a fie showing at that years Olivier Awards, and it’s easy to see why.

The soundtrack is filled with hit after hit, spanning three decades, and the story is a remarkable one. She was the boss and they were The Drifters. Faye Treadwell is The Drifters Girl in question, played brilliantly by CARLY MERCEDES DYER, who has an almighty voice and one that more than keeps up with The Drifters (MILES ANTHONY DALEY, ASHFORD CAMPBELL, DANIEL HASWELL and TARIK FRIMPONG).

So, we have a musical which features some of the greatest songs, from a career which took The Drifters to international success and countless hits, but this is the true story about the woman who made them, and was their manager right through the peak of their career.

Faye was remarkable for many reasons, she not only took the band onto greatness, but showed incredible determination and business acumen. She was also one of the first prominent African American women to enter music management.

The story of how she became a manager, and not a secretary as she sternly tells her husband George, is well covered in the show, but this is a musical and what we get is a catalogue of songs, all of which were clearly favourites of last nights audience. We also caught up with one of The Drifters Girl cast members Tarik Frimpong who plays Clyde McPhatter, Lover Patterson and others, and is also Dance Captain on this tour.


The show starts with a bit of a medley of The Drifters hits, which for me really set the mood of the whole production. It was also a reminder of just how many great songs this incredible group have turned out over the years. In fact they group are still touring and recently played two sold out dates in South Wales, under the management of Fay Treadwell’s daughter Tina, who’s idea this whole show was.

There’s a few elements to the story, which at times is very funny, thanks in part to the ever changing roles of the cast. We have the story of the band, on the business side we follow Fay’s fight to retain ownership of ‘the brand‘, and we also have the building love between Fay and George (MILES ANTHONY DALEY), which does bring some real heart and emotion into the plot.

Carly Mercedes Dyer as Faye Treadwell and Miles Anthony Daley as George Treadwell (Photo: The Other Richard)

I would suggest you keep your wits about you during the first half as so many band members came and went during the early years. Faye always said The Drifters are the brand, not the band members, and how right she was. They did however lose Ben E King from one of the many incarnations of the group, something which is covered in the show.

This isn’t relevant to the show you will see at the WMC but there was a medical incident during the first half performance last night which caused the show to be paused. Thanks to help of Nurse Hannah in the audience, the patient was taken to a quiet place before heading to hospital. The show then resumed.

I have to say the cast, and band were brilliant. They didn’t miss a step and picked up like nothing had happened.

Carly Mercedes Dyers as Faye Treadwell and the company of The Drifters Girl (Photo: The Other Richard)

The band, under the musical direction of DUSTIN CONRAD really bring the music to life. They keep all the elements of the period but inject a freshness too. The set isn’t overly busy but certainly captures the decades as we travel through the life of the group. As desks and recording studios are wheeled into place it’s a reminder that this is as much a story about a determined business woman as it is straight-forward musical.

Although the story does deal with the sexism and racism of the times it isn’t something which is laboured. This is unashamedly a show about great songs, fantastic dance routines and a compelling story, all of which are performed by a first rate cast.

THE DRIFTERS GIRL is at the Wales Millennium Centre through to Saturday 11th May, which is the last week of the tour, so that should be quite a party. Performances are at 7:30pm each evening with a 2:30pm matinee on Thursday and Saturday. Tickets start at £18 and you can get yours HERE.

With a soundtrack of some of the most iconic songs in music history, including SAVE THE LAST DANCE FOR ME, UNDER THE BOARDWALK, KISSIN’ IN THE BACK ROW OF THE MOVIES, STAND BY ME, COME ON OVER TO MY PLACE and SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES. This is one show that will have you singing long after the curtain falls.


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