26 years ago, Take That had their first Number 1 hit, now the members alongside a fantastic cast have found a Number 1 musical.
Starting off it’s UK Tour after first touring in 2017 before going to the West End, The Band arrived at The Lowry Theatre and it was a massive crowd pleaser.
The show featured all the well-known hits but it was definitely the characters I fell in love with. Friendship was a key theme to the musical, centred around a group of female friends obsessed with Take That as teens. We first meet a Young Rachel, played by Faye Christall and are instantly flown back to the nostalgic days of Top of The Pops. After meeting her other friends, it’s clear that the friends have a special bond. However, after a tragic accident, the group split up as teenagers only to meet 25 years later to go to Prague and watch their favourite band.
It was clear that the friendship on stage was not unnatural, unsurprisingly after the cast has been together for so long. Throughout the show, it was easy to identify the character traits of each character with each one being relatable to someone you know. The love of the band was a definite connection for the group as teens but it was the love for each other and the reasons behind it that provided softer and emotional scenes during the second act.
However, it wasn’t just the emotional scenes that are something to take away from it. The use of so many well-loved songs by Take That made the audience turn into a karaoke bar with everyone singing and dancing along to each song, sometimes even getting their phones out as torches and of course, the inevitable waving of the ‘Never Forget’ hands.
The vocals were mainly provided by the fictional band itself- made up of the five winners of BBC’s Let It Shine in which they won in 2017. Tim Firth, who also recently worked with Gary Barlow on Calendar Girls, alongside the members of Take That made the reworking of the songs for the show just as good as the original by including some amazing harmonies.
The stand-out performances, however, were certainly from the four leading ladies and it’s hard to find one better than the other as they all provided contrasting yet equally fascinating characters. Rachel Lumberg (playing Rachel, Alison Fitzjohn (Claire), Emily Joyce (Heather) and Jayne McKenna (Zoe) gave their all into relatable and fun, lovable characters and it was clear how much they loved it. It would be cruel to not mention the hilarious Andy Williams too who we met many times throughout the show as different characters called Dave.
For me, the most impressive part of the whole performance was the staging. Sometimes, stage shows try and go as big as possible with staging without it working yet the designers behind The Band had clearly thought about each scene to construct the best scene. We saw the stage transformed into schools, bedrooms, cliffside edges, planes and water fountains but it was turning the stage into a full-on pop concert that took me back to being a child at concerts.
The Band certainly put a huge beam on everyone’s faces. It’s run at the lowry ends on January 26th with the UK tour going until March.