‘The Band’ at the Grand Opera House

Last year when I watched Let it Shine, a BBC show to find the five guys who would play Take That in a new musical, I thought the production would be about the history of the band.

I assumed we’d see how they were formed, reenact their auditions, and learn about how they ‘gelled’ in the early days and months.

So, when I started reading about the production and the fact it centered on the story of teenage fans, I was surprised! Where would the band come into it? What would they be doing?

Well on Tuesday night I headed to the Grand Opera House for the opening night of ‘The Band’ and in the words of Gary Barlow, “that were absolutely fantastic!”

The show, set in 1993, features five 16-year-old girls obsessed with ‘the band’. They know all the words, they record their songs of the radio, they’re learning the dance moves, and they have posters in their school lockers and bedrooms.

The girls’ bond is unbreakable, despite the fact they all have very different personalities and different desires in life.

One wants to be a dancer on Top of the Pops, one wants to go to university, one wants to win an Olympic medal for diving, one is liked by all the boys and wants to have lots of children, and one longs to be happily married.

The story focuses on the girls going to their first concert and then shifts to 25 years later. Has the unbreakable bond broken? Have their dreams come true? What has changed since way back in 1993?

Well, what can I say? The show is exceptional. There are some extremely sad twists along the way which made me cry (and the person beside me!), but overall it is hugely funny with great one-liners.

And where does the band come into it? Well, they feature all the way through it. Popping up at convenient (and some inconvenient) moments!

The band sings slow songs during the sad parts, but they also put on a full-on show at times, complete with bright lights, costume changes and famous Take That dance moves.  You’d be forgiven for thinking you were at a concert!

All the classics feature, including Never Forget, Back for Good, A Million Love Songs, Relight My Fire and Rule the World.

The audience were absolutely loving it. Cheering, screaming, doing the ‘Never Forget’ hand clap, and dancing at their seats. This was heaven for Take That fans! I was transported back to the 1990s when I, too, had posters on my walls and knew all the words.

The show is really well done and has been one of my favourite productions this year.  The Band is on until Saturday 24th and I would urge you to book the remaining tickets!!

Faye Christall as Young Rachel (centre) with Five To Five as The Band in The Band, credit Matt Crockett

LtoR Rachelle Diedericks, Sarah Kate Howarth, Faye Christall, Lauren Jacobs & Katy Clayton in The Band, credit Matt Crockett

LtoR Jayne McKenna as Zoe, Rachel Lumberg as Rachel, Emily Joyce as Heather & Alison Fitzjohn as Claire, with Five To Five as The Band in The Band, credit Matt Crockett

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