An eager audience took their seats in the Theatre Royal for the first Norwich performance of The Band, the fast selling musical that features the music of Take That. 
The anticipation has no doubt been encouraged by the BBC1 television show Let It Shine, which featured a prime time audition for the band members in this show. The result of this contest is that the band Five to Five are the singing stars of this lively show, which tells the story of five teenage girls who win tickets to see their favourite band, Take That. They have a joyous evening and many adventures as they make their way home, and vow to keep in touch with each other.
From the start of the show we see the girls both as teenagers and as themselves twenty five years later, when they meet once again to see their favourite band in concert. The drama in the show comes  from the ups and downs of their experiences in life after their school years. As teenagers they have simple if widely varied ambitions, but life deals them rather different outcomes. The five women who play the part of the teenage girls have just the right level of slightly reckless innocent excitement, they are fearless and yet ferociously loyal to each other. 
The girls are interrupted in their friendship by unexpected tragedy and go their separate ways for many years, until they come together to travel to Prague to see the band once again.  They rediscover their mischievous teenage spirit and renew their bond to each other. 
The constant theme throughout is the music of Take That, and the band are ever present, popping up in the girls bedrooms, schools and wherever they find themselves. Keep your eye on any doors! The girls sing too, in fact every member of the sixteen strong cast joins in the singing throughout the show. The set is complex and mobile and serves many functions, from concert stage to aeroplane and even a rocky hill overlooking their home town.
Writer Tim Firth has created a clever and engaging new musical which will have huge appeal to the legions of Take That fans. His depiction of teenagers is particularly engaging and we all share the excitement of youngsters with their life before them. The second act however reminds us that life is brief, and sometimes dreams lie unfulfilled and forgotten. If you are a Take That fan the music will sweep you along and keep you smiling in this poignant but cheerful show. If you like Take That you will love this show!
© Julian Swainson 2018
The Band is at Norwich Theatre Royal 6th – 17th February 2018
Bookings: 01603 63 00 00 |