Book: Tim Firth
Music: Take That
Director: Kim Gavin and Jack Ryder
Reviewer: Lauren Maughan
Watching a performance of The Band is a night you’ll never forget. Great songs, a great cast and a great bit of nostalgia for some of us– this show is one not to be missed.
The story travels us through time, from the past to the present day, learning just where life would take five young girls with a passion for life, love and success. But whatever twists and turns might come their way over the 25 years, they’d always have The Band.
What might seem like a Take That tribute act is suddenly so much more within moments of the opening scenes. This play feels real. We have real women, playing refreshing characters – a standing ovation should be made for that alone. What’s particularly special is the relationship between our grown-up girls and their younger selves. The magical moments are where these women gather together and belt out some powerful and meaningful moments, and you may just find it brings a tear to your eye. Back for Good and Rule the World are particular pivotal performances.
Young Heather (Katy Clayton) delivers some cracking one-liners and grown-up Claire’s performance (Alison Fitzjohn) is another standout. Let’s not forget the boys, who all found fame on BBC’s Let it Shine talent contest. Their voices are pop perfect and they have all the boyband moves. The way they interact and are blended with the wider story is charming, but it’s the girls who really stand out here.
The set design is very clever, thanks to Jon Bausor’s creative flair. From a young dreamer’s bedroom singing in her hairbrush, to the school locker room, to a beautiful scenic spot on a hill, to plane high above the skies. The set is well thought through and brings each scene to life. Especially the fountain scene in Prague – it’s genius!
This is one musical where you can dance if you like, and you can sing the line of every song. And one thing’s for sure, you won’t be alone. The audience comes to life during The Band’sperformances of Take That hits, from The Flood to Could it Be Magic– the tunes just keep on coming. The powerful lyrics bring meaning to every act. A familiar song you once knew is transformed into a whole new perspective thanks to the wonderful script writing.
Andy Williams’ performance as Every Dave is a comedic thread throughout every scene – a bus driver, prison officer – you name it, he’s done it in this musical and he plays every one perfectly. And it’s not just Dave to describe as loveable – we can each relate to, or have a friend, that reminds us of every single character in this play – the sporty one, the funny one and the one who just wants to have fun – they’re all here. Insecurities all on show.
This may have been the life our stars of the show have been given, but they’re all living their greatest days. And you will too if you go and watch this musical.
Runs until 26 January 2019 | Image: Matt Crockett