I am always excited to go to the theatre but tonight my excitement is at a whole other level. Tonight I finally get to see The Band – the musical featuring the music of Take That who, for the last 26 years have not only been the object of an addiction I can’t get over but a band who have helped me through a lot of tough times. The first gig I ever went to was theirs and after attending around about another 80 or so of their shows you can understand my excitement at watching this today.
Not only does it feature the music of my childhood but also a story that is in some ways exactly like my own. It follows the story of a group of friends who were fans of the band when they were teenagers and now they’re in their 40’s reuniting and trying to meet their idols. Definitely NOT what happened to me and my friends back in 2006 when Take That reformed.
The Band is the fastest selling touring musical of all time currently and it’s not hard to see why. I’m sure this is largely due to the production team but let’s not forget that the boys chosen to star in this musical were found from BBC show ‘Let it Shine’ and have a huge following themselves.
On paper this show should be incredible, but is it?
Yes, yes it is! This show is far better than I could have imagined, it was non stop nostalgia from the giant Ceefax screen scrolling through the news and charts of 1993 before the show until the show stopping finale with a few special guests.
This is not the story of Take That but instead uses their music as a background to follow the girls through the trials and tribulations of being teens dealing with the obvious and not so obvious issues that it brings and then through the different issues surrounding us as we get older. It was literally like watching my life unfold on the stage in front of me and is a whole rollercoaster of emotion.
The script is brilliant, clever and laugh out loud funny and the cast just unbelievable. This is the first show I’ve seen where there is no ‘weak link’ each and every cast member could not have been more perfect for the part that they played. I was captivated from the second it started.
Take That are known for their theatrical live shows and big production values and having some of the same team behind this really shows. There are some clever scenes set on a plane and by a fountain in Prague. It’s really imaginative and the songs are perfectly picked for the scenes that they’re enhancing. ‘Rule the World’ is particularly poignant.
Five to Five the winners of ‘Let it Shine’ who play ‘Take That’ (or ‘The Boys’) in the show were incredible. There may even have been times when they sang some of the songs better than I’ve ever heard. They are clearly really enjoying this whole experience and each and every one of them was flawless – who knew they’d have such great comic timing as well.
But the star of this show for me was Rachel who’s point of view the story is told from; expertly played as a child by Faye Christall and as an adult by Rachel Lumberg. Both actresses played their parts amazingly and you really believe that the young girl you’ve just seen actually turned into the grown up you now see, perfect casting. Both are funny and likeable; they convey the story in such a beautiful way.
There’s a brilliant quote from one of the creators of this show describing music as a ‘time tunnel’ where you can hear a particular song and it just puts you right back where you were when you heard it, makes you feel the way you did then and brings back memories like nothing else can. This entire show is a time tunnel for anyone of a certain age and for those who aren’t it’s just an incredibly moving, funny and expertly produced new unique show.
It’s hard to be objective when you’re watching something that is so perfect but even if you’re not a fan of Take That then it is a brilliant night out. Just ask my husband who had to spend the night handy me tissues and basically being ignored for 2 hours… If there was one criticism that I could have it would be that it could have been a little longer!
Last night was particularly special as well as I’m sure you will have all heard/read about now as not only was it the first southern show of this touring production we were promised some special guests and special they were. Take That did appear at the end and joined the cast for an encore the perfect (albeit slightly emotional) end to a perfect night. You can watch the whole curtain call here.
THE BAND is at The Mayflower until 11th November, tickets available still please go watch it you won’t be disappointed!