Superb Talent Drifts Into Theatre Severn

The Drifters

Theatre Severn

Friday 25th September 2015

I closed my eyes and it was 1974; I was wearing my best new Bags and Fairisle Tank top with my Spoon Collar flapping as I danced at the Silvester Horne Institute disco in Church Stretton.

No,actually as I opened my eyes I was sat at the back of the auditorium of Theatre Severn listening to the Drifters pouring out hit after hit. The air fair bristled with nostalgia as all we 40 and 50 somethings sang, clapped and whistled just as riotously as we would have done back  then.

With each hit we were given just a little Drifters history. We mourned the sad loss of Ben E King , who passed away about six month ago, then after an emotionally charged, “Stand By Me,” we learned that the first Drifters Album was made back in 1953, that’s sixty years of hit making.

 After millions of albums and singles sold they have kept a continuity that in the cut throat world of popular music is a no mean feat and,  although they  have changed the line up many times, there is a thread running through like Blackpool through a stick of rock, We knew these men were now The Drifters and they were not good …..they were brilliant.

The technical script, as in lighting and sound changes, was incredible and the lighting cues alone would have given top technicians a run for the money. The technical language, as it is known, was brilliant. The  lights were beautifully and sympathetically bringing just that extra special something to the whole mix.

These guys were seriously cool.  They sang, they danced and they entertained. Backed by the superb live Drifters, band there wasn’t a recorded note in the house. The six man combi, comprising Woodwind, Drums, Keys, Percussion, Bass and Lead Guitars, were so tight and clearly so very well rehearsed. Its wonderful to hear such great live music being played in the here and now!

One could feel  stunning musicianship,  lovely singing and amazing dance moves notwithstanding, rehearsed they might have been, but there was a genuine warmth toward the audience and a sense of fun coming from the boys that actually made it a shared experience and audience and band all came together.

Although the bulk of the show was their classic gold tracks there was some interesting covers and new material too. For example they did a great Sweet Caroline.

For the full two hours this was a show with everything. No one went home disappointed and the convivial banter in the downward lift after the show, was one of a happy bunch of theatre goers, maybe just a little sad because it was home time.

They say nostalgia is a thing of the past. I can’t agree tonight I was a fifty something 14 year old school boy and the band that Fluff Freeman had just told me were number one, were singing live just for me, oh and the other five hundred or so people that were there too. What an honour thought I and worried whether if I recorded it, would it have fitted on Durrants  C60 cassette which were our technology of the day!

It was a great fun show and consequently……

This a five star review.

Owen Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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