Writer: Tim Firth
Music & Lyrics: Take That
Director: Kim Gavin and Jack Ryder
Reviewer: Sheila Stratford
The Band tells the story of five teenage girlfriends bound together as dedicated fans of the boy band Take That. When they leave school, they go their separate ways only to be reunited 25 years later to attend a Take That concert in Prague.
The writer, Tim Firth has also written The Girls with Gary Barlow, a musical version of The Calendar Girls. Other musical credits to his name include This is My Family (Sheffield Crucible, UK Theatre Award) and Our House (West End, Olivier Award).
In The Band, Tim Firth weaves together a moving story using the thread of the music, lyrics and dance moves from Take That. The musical begins with the five friends full of teenage exuberance, ambitions, and anxieties. Yet when they are reunited in their adult lives, after the twenty-five year break things have changed. They are surprised to discover the very different paths their lives have taken. Despite the years, their friendship persists and they are still able to support each other in their mature lives.
The boy band in the musical consists of the five winners of the reality television programme, Let it Shine, produced by Gary Barlow and screened in 2017. The aim was to find and create the band. They all give an excellent performance. Their vocals are strong and dance moves well-choreographed. They impart happiness, cohesion, and optimism.
There are moments of great joy and nostalgia as they sing many of the Take That great hits including Shine, It Only Takes A Minute, Greatest Day, Could it be Magic, A Million Love Songs.
The sets are stunning, greatly enhanced with superb lighting, sound, and video design. For example, the set convincingly transports the audience on a plane to Prague. It captures brief experiences of attending live Take That concerts with all the razzmatazz and excitement that it generates.
The band’s costumes and rapid costume changes help to re-create the early days of Take That and it generates all the excitement and energy of that period.
The Band has a large cast with everyone having an equal opportunity to shine, as they all do in their different roles. Rachelle Diedericks as Debbie, a young teenage fan displays a special charisma in her first professional credit performance.
It is a joyous musical that creates laughter and tears in equal measure. It is not a tribute performance of Take That, more it is a musical about long-lasting friendship formed around the music of that iconic band. A stunning performance.
Touring nationwide | Image: Contributed