Prepare to be transported back in time in true 90’s style with this brilliantly nostalgic new musical. The Band is a huge celebration of music and its fans. From a young teenagers first love to the nostalgia 25 years later – music forms a soundtrack to our lives. In this warm and endearing story The Band are the glue which holds 5 young girls together. Tragedy strikes, time passes and people change but the music stays the same and 4 women, 4 best friends reunite to realise that no matter what, they’ll always have each other.
This jukebox musical is particularly well written and designed. The Band, 5 young men recruited on BBC’s ‘Let it Shine’, quite literally sing the soundtrack to the girls lives and a whole host of ultimate Take That classics are written perfectly into the story. Unlike many jukebox musicals which follow real life events, The Band has a story of its own. Mario Solomon, AJ Bentley, Curtis Johns, Nick Carsberg and Harry Brown played the boys and sounded divine. They gave just the right amount of cheese, a good helping of humour and a whole lot of charm to their roles. They most definitely did Take That proud.
What’s really special about the show is the involvement of Kim Gavin; the creative director of Take That’s legendary live shows. Alongside him is director Jack Ryder and together they offer innovative direction and choreography which transports the audience between clifftops, real life concerts and high school locker rooms beautifully. Assisting in this, Jon Bausor’s design was exciting and versatile whilst lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe perfectly altered the mood. Altogether an exceptionally well designed production.
The cast were exceptional. Their storytelling was impeccable and they each brought comedy, warmth and emotion to their roles. Whilst the story really did bring the classic 90’s cheese, it didn’t go too far and that’s a testament to this brilliant cast. Particularly outstanding was Rachel Lumberg as the grown up Rachel who was completely flawless and Andy Williams as Every Dave who had the audience laughing out loud at every opportunity.
This cast made me laugh, they made me cry and they had me up on my feet belting out Never Forget at the top of my lungs when we were reminded that “this was your show all along”.
The entire audience left that auditorium floating on cloud 9. There was a real buzz in the air and the excitement was palpable. This musical isn’t groundbreaking and it’s not trying to be. What it is is uplifting, heartwarming and nostalgic. You could go into that auditorium with the weight of the world on your shoulders and come out feeling weightless. Its feel-good, funny and an important reminder that no matter what happens, friendship is forever.
The Band will be performing at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate until 9th June 2018 before continuing on tour. For tickets and information, click here!
Because they were so wonderful, I feel I must shout out Alison Fitzjohn, Emily Joyce, Jayne McKenna, Martin Miller, Faye Christall, Katy Clayton, Rachelle Diedericks, Sarah Kate Howarth and Lauren Jacobs. Excellent performances by all.
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*Production Images by Matt Crockett