Reviewed by Gemma Ingham
We all remember the Take That vs East 17 debate of the early 90’s, don’t we? I was definitely on East 17’s side as I wasn’t particularly a fan of the clean-cut boy band image of Take That. Despite me not being a super fan of Take That, it was common knowledge that they were ‘the’ boy band of the time and a Beatles like hysteria surrounded them wherever they went. Many of my school friends were avid fans with bedrooms plastered in posters of the boys and their music constantly blaring out.
It’s at this point The Band musical lets the audience immediately identify, as a 16-year-old Rachel prances around her bedroom, singing along to the band’s hits – we’ve all been there! Rachel and her four friends are all super fans of ‘the band’ and we follow their journey to one of the concerts where they try and fail to meet the band. One tragedy (the show took a very unexpected turn at this point), 25 years, a competition to see the band, and a reunion later and our girls are all grown up, having taken very different paths than the ones they expected to make for themselves.
The show covers love, friendship and loss. The group of friends face up to the past, look forward to the future and find acceptance in each other. The girls, their pasts and the situations they find themselves in are so relatable to women that it is impossible not to like and identify with each of the characters in some part. I left the theatre feeling like they were my friends and I’d gone through the journey with them.
I’d heard of the musical a month or so ago and as it stars the winners of BBC’s ‘Let It Shine’ and is based around the music of Take That I expected it to be a show actually about Take That. Their music is indeed a huge feature despite the fictitious on-stage band never actually being referred to as Take That. The band creates a soundtrack to the character’s lives with a Take That song to suit every moment.
The five boys are obviously extremely talented (not to mention quite hunky), and some smashing choreography, stage production and costumes made me feel like a screaming 12-year-old girl at a concert all over again. I was totally immersed in the entire show and it’s definitely up there in my top shows of all time. A totally faultless production, which evoked a myriad of emotions. I smiled, laughed and cried all the way through it and left the theatre needing to get hold of every Take That song ever!
As to whether the girls get to finally meet the band… you’ll have to go and see the show to find out won’t you? But with the journey they all go through together, does meeting the band actually really matter in the end?
I went to see The Band at the Bradford Alhambra, which is easy to get to as it’s near all major motorway networks and public transport. All staff were helpful and welcoming. Despite needing to pause the show for a couple of minutes to deal with a technical glitch everything ran smoothly and we had a wonderful evening.
Tickets cost from £19.50 to £49.50 (booking fees may apply).
The Band is at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford from 17-28 October 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.bradford-theatres.co.uk or call the box office on 01274 432000.
Alhambra Theatre, Morley Street, Bradford, BD7 1AJ | 01274 432000