Thursday 23rd November saw a trip to the theatre with my mum and nan. After seeing Let it Shine on BBC One, I knew I had to get tickets to see the show live when they toured. Musical Theatre is a true passion of mine, so it is always a privilege to see new musicals come to life and enjoy the wonders of live shows.
[This post does contain some spoilers on the plot of the story].
‘The Band’ musical starts off in 1992, five teenage friends are finding their way in life, Rachel dealing with a possible parent divorce, confident Heather dreaming of becoming a fashion designer, Claire training to become an Olympic athlete, Zoe who loves school work, and Debbie who is a lovable young girl who truly lives in the moment. When a new boy band comes to light; Take That take the girls by storm, and when Debbie wins tickets to see the boys live, the girls plan their chance of meeting their dream men; their band.
When tragedy strikes, we see the girls go in opposite directions after promising they would not, they drift apart and then we come to the present day. The girls are 25 years older, they have their own lives, and they have not spoken since that dreaded disaster. They have all grown up, and in a way in which you would not expect, and this is a perfect addition, showing us that life may not turn out how we planned when we were children, as for many people, this is the reality for them. When Rachel wins a competition to see Take That in Prague, it only seems right that she gets back in touch with her childhood best friends and fly out to Europe for a fun filled, action packed adventure!
We follow the fabulous four as they start their journey to Prague; from behaving like teenagers, reconnecting as best friends, and even getting arrested, well ‘detained’ in a Prague police station for something that will sure make you laugh. With the concert about to end, a deja vu moment happens and it feels like a full circle has passed for the girls, reliving some of the same moments that happened when they were teenagers. Rachel Lumberg (Rachel), Emily Joyce (Heather), Jayne McKenna (Zoe) and Alison Fitzjohn (Claire) play the older versions of the girls wonderfully. With the paths of the girls changing, prepare for unexpected events to occur, with each character making you laugh, cry and smile. With Rachel pulling on the heartstrings; Jayne perfectly showing how your life can change in different directions through a range of emotions; Emily capturing the confidence of Heather and making sure the audience are always laughing with her lines; and Alison being a star actress as Claire. Her personality and quick wit shine through, to create a fabulous character and a fun filled plot.
Young Debbie (Rachelle Diedericks), Claire (Sarah Kate Howarth), Rachel (Faye Christall, Zoe (Lauren Jacobs) and Heather (Katy Clayton) are brought to life by the most amazing, funny, talented actresses I have seen in a while. With each of their own personalities and perks, they are able to leave you laughing and crying in your seats. With Faye Christall drawing you in from the very first word, she captures the innocence and joy every young girl has. Katy Clayton who plays young Heather is truly phenomenal, I could not take my eyes off her throughout, from her quirky ‘ta-daas’, to her sensational voice, Katy is a wonderful young talent, and I am looking forward to seeing her perform again soon, and with Lauren’s unique way of delivering lines, and wonderful stage presence, they are a wonder to watch! Sarah Kate Howarth brings life to Claire, helping to show the determination an aspiring athlete has, Sarah Kate is perfect for this role. Rachelle plays Debbie, the glue of the group, Rachelle has done a wonderful job bringing the bubbly, life loving wonder that is Debbie to life! These girls are a true credit to the show and they captured the story right from the start. From their singing, to dancing and acting, I could honestly just keep on going with the praise for these wonderful actresses. These girls are amazing on stage, they have chemistry and major talent, what else is needed!
Five to Five take centre stage for the roles of Take That after winning Let it Shine, it is amazing to see their dreams come true! Their voices on television were great, I remember voting for them, but television did not do them justice. Their voices live were just absolutely out of this world, their harmonies, their dancing, everything was amazing. They put in the hard work, and you can definitely see this throughout their performance, and it is nice to see that they truly do get on with each other. They have created a magnificent show, and they certainly know how to get the audience dancing and singing along, believe me, you won’t be able to stop!
‘The Band’ show the real life struggles, real life heartbreak and real life stories of many girls and women, which is exactly what we need in todays society. It is the soundtrack to many peoples life and proves how music can help us through any situation, with every song being perfectly fitted for a scene, it allows us to remember the times when we were younger through song, and even allows us to create new memories when we are older. ‘The Band’ is a real feel good show, you will be pulled through a number of emotions as you cross through the 25 years; from fits of laughter, to crying, I can guarantee you will be singing and dancing the night away, you will not want it to end! Whether you have grown up with Take That or not, you will relate to the show in so many ways, through the love of music and friends. The cast and crew have managed to create a must see show, from the amazing props and sets, to the hilarious one liners, I recommend ‘The Band’ everyone, whether you are a fan of musical theatre or not. With the tour being extended, I just know for sure that I will be seeing it again! The Band is definitely a five out five!