reviews and recommendations

The Band: The Musical on UK Tour

The Band, the musical theatre phenomenon from Gary Barlow and the Take That creative team took Edinburgh’s Playhouse by storm on press night. One of the fastest selling shows ever, it played to packed audiences and fulfilled every expectation. The audience clapped, cheered, laughed and cried as they were transported by the Take That musical time machine back to the teen years of the nineties, when most of us girls fell in love with the boy band craze and bedrooms became havens of poster filled adulation.

This is exactly where the action starts, in the bedroom of four teenage fans. Rachael and her three friends, Claire, Heather and Zoe jumping with joy at the prospect of seeing their boy band idols in action. Action is the operative word, as the scene changes to the girls’ school locker room and the five boys magically spring to life and leap from the girls’ lockers.

Seconds later they are in full concert action, blasting out Take That’s Back For Good! It seemed as though every female in the audience had voted for the real boys in this band, winners of Gary Barlow’s BBC show Let it Shine now known as Five to Five. Their punchy, slick, professional performances did Gary Barlow and Take That proud.

However, it is the girls that carry the storyline of the show. They are united in their friendship and infatuation with The Band, full of fun and aspirations for their future until faced with a sudden tragedy that causes them to split. We catch up with them again as mature women when they get together again on a girls weekend reunion trip to see their girlhood idols perform in Prague. Much nostalgia and hilarity ensues.

Tim Firth’s script is well crafted, in turns both poignant and very funny. Each of  the girls hit every well-timed comedy moment, notably Emily Joyce and Katy Clayton who share the role of the young and older dynamic Joyce and Alison Fitzjohn and Sarah Kate Howarth as the athletic Claire.

Taking a peek at the audience it was noticeable how many mums brought their teenage daughters to share Take That’s hit songs and the vibrancy and nostalgia of their own teens. However, this is not just a jukebox musical. The music has been beautifully reworked throughout the show and skillfully provides the soundtrack to the girls’ lives. It is integrally interwoven with Tim Firth’s script in a show that also benefits from Take That’s signature, spectacular staging.

There are strong performances from all the girls. The older girls are played by Rachael Lumberg as Rachael and Jayne Mckenna as Zoe. Faye Christall, Rachelle Diedericks and Lauren Jacobs play the younger girls with great bounce and gusto.

The music, including 18 Take That hits is everything a fan can expect from Gary Barlow’s team. If you enjoyed The Girls and Finding Neverland, you will love The Band. The good news for fans is that the tour has been extended countrywide for the next year. Definitely one for the girls – Enjoy!

The Band is on tour until March 2019. For tickets and more information click here!