GIRLBAND: trading on comedy rather than cliche

GIRLBAND – Tristan Bates Theatre, until 18 August

Whilst The Spice Girls may have chosen the Olympic Closing Ceremony to remind people what exactly they had been missing for the past 12 years, a small theatre in the heart of the West End was dedicating its space to the story of GIRLBAND – a sassy pop 3-piece that took the charts by storm in the mid-90’s before going their separate ways…

Fortuitous timing may have worked to GIRLBAND’s advantage but with my experiences of WAG: The Musical still painfully raw there was a certain trepidation about launching myself back into the world of spoof musical celebrity culture.

However I need not have worried, Those Three Girls (Carly Sheppard, Lucy Barnett & Susie Peters) have produced a very enjoyable concept that actually relies less on the traditional cliches associated with manufactured pop-bands and more on the wider-impact that fandom has on those that support them.

Whilst not avoiding easy laughs (it is a comedy after all), the production retains poignancy as the central action is focussed on the Fans rather than the Band and the audience is invited to both laugh and feel sympathy for these characters. This is reflected in the script which at times owes a debt to Alan Bennett’s comic monologues, with a style that is primarily direct to-the-audience and containing a wry humour that is often laced with an underlying melancholy.

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