On Tuesday (20th), Leeds Grand Theatre hosted the opening night for The Band, a Take That Musical. The critically acclaimed show tells the story of five female fans, both past and present, and the profound affect music had on all of their lives.
Although The Band is dubbed the Take That Musical, the reason why is hard to tell. The plot may be narrated using the quintet’s music, but it doesn’t actually delve into the story of Gary and the gang. As of this, any celebrated pop band that went through a hiatus could be on the setlist and it wouldn’t make the slightest difference.
Regardless, Five to Five, the band who won BBC’s Let It Shine talent show for a place on the productions cast, imitated Take That brilliantly. With cheesy dance moves, well thought out medleys, strong vocals and interesting costumes, the boys stole every scene they were in.
— The Band (@TheBandMusical) 22 March 2018
Not only were Five to Five a good call, but the casting and Tim Firth’s scripting for the rest of the production was spot on. The gifted actresses playing the young friends were easy to connect to as everyone remembers dancing around in their bedrooms and using a hairbrush as a microphone in their teenage years. However, this meant that when tragedy struck, it was all the more impactful.
They looked very much like their older counterparts (in most cases) and displayed similar mannerisms, making the 25-year-on reveal all the more hilarious. It was the opportune time to brighten the solemn mood that had previously been bestowed on the audience, and the cast executed it amazingly.
Other highlights include them wrecking havoc in Manchester as teenagers, and getting up to similar antics in Prague as middle aged women, proving that age is just a number and maturity is just a word. Rachel Lumberg, Alison Fitzjohn, Emily Joyce and Jayne McKenna, who played the present day version of the girls, were fun, relatable and delivered some great one liners and puns.
Many of the audience were Take That fans, made obvious by the flicker of recognition in their eyes every time a song/album name was mentioned in passing. At one point, the characters said something along the lines of, “If only there was a song for this moment…” and you could hear the crowd listing off relevant tracks from their seats.
Although it was predictable, The Band was awarded with a standing ovation by the audience. The feel good show was a corny love letter to friendship and the 90s that undoubtedly triggered nostalgia, laughs and maybe even some tears.
Well it’s clear to say Leeds loves your production @davidsoho1 #Dafydd @GaryBarlow @OfficialMarkO @HowardDonald Another full house last night for the cast of @TheBandMusical @GrandTheatreLS1 and it was finished by a wonderful standing ovation! #TheBandMusical #LeedsGrandTheatre pic.twitter.com/zBqqn5l4vM
— Joanne TT Doherty (@jowadders01) 21 March 2018