As I was born in the 1980’s my teenage years were spent in the early 1990’s. It was the era of the Boy and Girl Band. I remember buying my first CD Album from Virgin Records and it was Spice by the Spice Girls in 1996 I think it was £15.99 (alot of money in them days) ha ha
By then me and my friends were well into boy bands! My favourite being Take That and the Backstreet Boys. Take That came out in 1990 five boys launched from Manchester. I think at the time being 17 years old I fancied Mark and Gary (Gary had bright blonde bleached hair) lol
When I heard about a new musical coming to Manchester called ‘The Band’ based on Take That the version that I remembered, I jumped at the chance to watch it. A chance to remember my youth, I had purposely not looked at the synopsis because I wanted a surprise.
A surprise I got indeed!
The production tells the story of five young 16 year old high school girls in the early 1990’s. Who adore a band called Take That, which one they fancy, which song is the favourite and how they plan on going to see them live. This is exactly how I used to feel about the band at their age, and brought back happy memories of nostalgia for me. Especially as me and my friends would save up each week and buy teen magazines like Sugar, Just 17 and Smash Hits. Which would have pull out posters in and stickers of the boys! Loved it! ha ha
After the interval the story then moves forward 25 years, which by then the girls are married with children and have grown up. The band have too, at which time Take That the real band reforms and goes into a reunion tour. Which reignites the girls love for the band. Since the days of high school, time changed the girls and they have grown up as life does. Their passion for the band hasn’t and their reunion 25 years later together brings some nice surprises for them and also some rollercoaster memories. The music throughout the production is Take That Classic music performed by AJ Bentley, Curtis Johns, Nick Carlsberg, Sario Solomon and Yazdan Qafouri.
To be fair they do the music justice and are perfect for the musical.
Credit: Matt Crockett
Co Produced by one of the original That That band members Gary Barlow and Written by the legendary Tim Firth. You can tell that these two have worked together in the past and have a good relationship. Especially with the little personal touches in the production. My favourite at the beginning is the original Kellogg’s cereal box design, which the band comes out on in the first scene. Plus the old school posters which the girls have up their rooms, even the backpacks they were wearing at school when the girls are 17. Nice personal touches to the production.
As we move to the girls 25 years later I feel like I have been on a journey with them. Similar thoughts and feelings about my youth looking back and of course. A fondness for the band I loved when I was 16. Again well cast – Jayne McKenna, Emily Joyce, Rachel Lumberg and Alison Fitzjohn were the ladies who played the girls 25 years later. My favourite characters being Rachel and Alison very funny and embraced being a modern woman and some of the body image struggles, we face in the current day away from being 16. Go Girls! Very empowering.
Credit: Matt Crockett
The sets in the production were Classic Tim Firth. Very cleaver use of space. My favourite scene above where the girls were boarding a plane. The plane especially made converted itself into different parts of the set as well as a plane. Reminded me of Bat out of Hell and how the space and production was used.
I am a big Tim Firth Fan and will look forward to his future productions.
Overall great production, well cast, written and produced! Drags you back to the 1990’s to relive some nice memories together with the Take That hits from the 1990’s performed beautifully by AJ Bentley, Curtis Johns, Nick Carlsberg, Sario Solomon and Yazdan Qafouri.
At the end the original band came on stage. Which the audience screamed hysterically reminded me of going to see Take That back in the day. Brilliant to see the original band performing with the boys. For me an epic end to the production.
The production is already on tour and left Manchester on 30 September 2017.
Tickets start at £19.50 – £53.40 plus a Transaction fee depending on where you sit and what time you attend.
Click for ticket prices – http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-band/
Nice to see Graham Norton and Lulu at Press night too 🙂
Directed by Kim Gavin & Jack Ryder (Remember Jack from Eastenders?)
Produced by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers (below)
Credit: Northampton Chronicle & Echo