REVIEW: Smash-hit musical The Band at Derngate, Northampton
Could It Be Magic? Definitely!
My husband urged me to find someone else to go with to review this show, and as soon as it started, I knew he was right - he was never going to appreciate this trip down memory lane in all its 90s glory.
But would the UK tour of Tim Firth’s new musical, The Band, which arrived at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate last night for a fortnight run, Relight My Fire?
We needed no Patience in finding out - it was a resounding yes from myself and my friend who both grew up with Take That.
It Only Takes A Minute to fall back in love with the music, the memories and the dance routines from the band’s heyday.
Written by award-winning writer Tim Firth, The Band is a new musical about what it’s like to grow up with a boyband.
For five 16-year-old friends in 1992, ‘the band’ is everything.
But 25 years on, Everything Changes and the girls, now 40-something women, are reunited on a trip to Prague as they try once more to fulfil their dream of meeting their heroes, whose music became the soundtrack to their lives.
The Band features the music of Take That, including classics such as Never Forget, Back for Good, A Million Love Songs, Greatest Day, The Flood and Shine.
With so many hits from the band’s back catalogue, you can’t help but smile throughout the show.
Audience participation is encouraged as you get swept up in a rendition of your favourite Take That hit from back in the day or a more recent track.
The Band is played by AJ Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Qafouri (played by Mr Harry Fabulous Brown last night) and Sario Solomon, who, as Five To Five, won BBC’s Let It Shine.
Playing the parts of Rachel and Young Rachel are Rachel Lumberg and Faye Christall respectively.
The cast is completed by Emily Joyce as Heather, Alison Fitzjohn as Claire, Jayne McKenna as Zoe, Katy Clayton as Young Heather, Sarah Kate Howarth as Young Claire, Lauren Jacobs as Young Zoe, Rachelle Diedericks as Debbie, Martin Miller as Jeff and Andy Williams as Dave.
The Band is directed by Kim Gavin and Jack Ryder, formerly of Eastenders fame, and produced by David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers and Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Mark Owen and Robbie Williams.
Talking about the show, Take That said: “We are incredibly proud and excited that our first production as theatre producers is The Band – a musical that we think will touch the hearts of not just our fans, but everyone.”
While the show is very much about the music of Take That, it is so much more.
The storyline is really heartwarming and feel-good despite touching on some tough issues including grief and self-confidence.
And it felt like each of the Take That songs chosen had been written specifically for that scene.
Rule The World was a particular goose-bump moment for me, and I spotted a few people wiping away a little tear at this point.
But that’s Take That for you - they made us smile, they made us laugh and they made us cry, especially when news of the split broke.
For fans of one of the biggest boy bands the world has ever seen, this is a must-see show - it’s definitely one of the best musicals I have seen in a while so it is no surprise that The Band has now become one of the most successful musical theatre tours ever.
With such good reviews, you might need to Pray that tickets are still available for the show which is on at Derngate until Saturday, June 9!
Tickets are priced from £19.50 to £49.50 and can be booked by calling Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at www.royalandderngate.co.uk.