Reviewed by Carolyn Cherry
I had not visited the Mayflower since panto at Christmas time, but love it there, such a good little theatre. Easy to park, with a multi storey car park just round the back, it has been revamped last year, not sure of all the details but it did look nice inside, a bit brighter on the decor I noticed.
Arriving early, I had a chance to read a bit in the programme, about the writers and producers and how The Band came about as well as the usual castings and great photos. I had time to pre book our interval drinks, which I recommend, saves queuing. When we sat down our seats were central and a great view, my friend is a bit shorter and worried about someone tall coming in front, well of course in due course two very tall men sat in front of us, but as the seating was tiered downwards, this did not affect the view, yay what a relief. We were in the circle as opposed to the stalls which can make a difference as the seating is still not staggered in the stalls but one in front of the other, despite the seating being redone with the refit I was told.
The intro at the beginning took you right back in time, as on the stage was a giant TV with CEEFAX, so funny to see, and I had forgotten all about this method of news before the computer age. The date was 1993, and details of all sorts popped up on it, from music chart toppers, the politics and news at the time. What a great start, very nostalgic but would be equally interesting if quirky for someone younger. A real conversation starter.
The first scene came and was in a girls bedroom, it was the start of some amazing scenery, the changes so quick and effortless and diverse. The show had The Band performing as you would imagine at a concert, but so much more, there were scenes of airports and planes, of rocks and views, in particular I remember a fountain scene, which was very clever and loved it a large cascading fountain with figurines in the pool of it, as it turned out real men figures, all cleverly done and a funny scene, I don’t want to spoil the plot.
The story was lovey one of friends form childhood and how they grow up and go their separate ways, then rejoin and catch up and reminisce, quiet simple, but I can guess many can relate to that. The girls all 5 of them being very different, a dancer, an athlete, one that just wanted to be married, a fashionista, and a nerdy clever girl, a good mix. It is difficult to pick out who was best or good, they were all, but the lead character Rachel Lumberg and Faye Christall drew you into their story very well. There are a few unexpected twists in the story but I felt overall that it was realistic as with 5 girls not everything runs smoothly growing up, each has their problems. A simple tale of life, love and the companionship of the girls and all that it meant to them.
Now for the fun bit, the singing and dancing. I noticed at the beginning one voice stood out of the boy band the smaller blond chap, AJ, a confident strong voice that came out clear but as the story went on and the scenes changed and the costumes and the songs along with it, the voices in the band grew and it was great to see that they took turns in taking the lead in the performances, and you got to hear them all. Although I did not know some of the titles of the songs as soon as they started I knew everyone, I had forgotten how many hits Take That had.
The costumes they wore dated back I am sure, I remembered some of the Take That classic outfits, including long tailed white shimmering jackets, as well as classic boy band jeans gear and the large red and black check tops and black jeans. They were some very energetic moves, with a different routine for every song, and I did worry at times that they might fall off the stage, some looked a bit precarious.
Alas no show of the famous band this time at the end, you always hope, but a torch light ending with the audience standing waving their arms. I would recommend the show for a girls night out, fun and all round entertainment and that feel good factor.
For other shows at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton visit www.mayflower.org.uk or call the box office on 02380 711811.
Mayflower Theatre, Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1GE | 02380 711811