Knee-high white boots, very short skirts, the close-knit harmonies of the new breed of 'pop' songs played on electric guitars backed by a full drum-kit and 5 girls growing up in a world very different to their parents. Why shouldn't they form a band and have fun? They can learn to play their instruments same as the boys - there's plenty of opportunities for playing, touring even, and they might just become famous!
Based on the story of one of the first girl-bands ever, Mandy and the Girlfriends from Hull, 'It's Different for Girls' follows Sindy and the Girlfriends from their formation in 1965, practising in a sound-proofed shed to playing gigs around Yorkshire (travelling in an old flower van) to touring in Germany, entertaining American GIs. It also charts their rite-of-passage, from naive young ladies in their first jobs to pop-stars who are exposed to sexism, chauvinism and sexual harassment as they struggle with their own internal and external relationships and the expectations of themselves and others.
With a mixture of original numbers and pop classics of the 60's (I do so hope they will record an album, as Mandy and the Girlfriends did!) this show is a thought-provoking flashback to the 60s which will have brought back lots of memories for the majority of the audience members. All credit to the cast who play the music live, the inventive set and lighting (which evokes practice space, dance halls, ladies' toilets, a strip club and Hull City Hall), the costumes and the simulation of those 60's moves and grooves!
She Productions, who devised, star in, direct and produce the play have worked closely with some of the original Mandy and the Girlfriends' band-members to tell this parallel story, using the title of their book to entitle the musical. It's important that Hull and the East Riding is recognised for its pioneering musical spirit - for too long have Liverpool and Manchester been given accolades that should have included our area, too!
This musical took 3 years from inception to performance; it's too good as a musical and social commentary to be restricted to a few performances in Beverley, as the hugely-appreciative audience will tell you. She Productions and East Riding Theatre deserve our support and encouragement to be like Mandy and the Girlfriends and get 'It's Different for Girls' out there!
Just one small suggestion? There were shouts for an encore at the end, which weren't acknowledged. How about returning to play anther 60's song which the audience can get up and dance to? 'Dancing in the Street' might be a good one?
'It's Different for Girls' plays until September 23rd at 7.30pm with a couple of matinees. Last night was a sell-out. Don't miss your opportunity to see it! Age recommendation 13+