Last night saw the press debut of The Band, a new musical featuring the music of Take That, which kicked off its nationwide tour in Manchester.
The musical is co-produced by former Take That members Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Mark Owen and Robbie Williams, and is written by Tim Firth. The winners of the BBC talent programme Let It Shine, Five To Five, play the eponymous boy band.
The show follows the story of a group of teenage friends obsessed with ‘the band’, a love which continues into adulthood.
Last night, pop legend Lulu joined the ‘real’ Take That onstage for a performance of ‘Relight My Fire’.
Reviews for the show have been mixed. Dominic Cavendish of The Telegraph commented that, “Irrespective of the blessings bestowed on the project by the “boys” themselves, the focus on “the girls” (which The Band might easily be called, had Firth not just used that title for his Calendar Girls spin-off) short-changes their achievements.”
He called Five To Five, “performing poodles or background figures – circling the lasses and ladies like ghosts”.
However, Peter Robinson wrote for the Guardian, “Shows like this are notorious for crowbarring in hits on the most tenuous plot points. The Band’s premise – that pop is all around us, and sometimes makes sense in unexpected ways – allows Tim Firth to leave his crowbar at home and have some fun.”
Stephen M Hornby echoes the praise with a five star review, writing for Attitude, “Tim Firth’s choice of story may be an obvious one, but he has woven a surprisingly complex and layered narrative out of it. The show is funny and bursting with music, but it also a clever and subtle take on grief, loss and the bittersweet pleasure of nostalgia.”
The Band tours nationally into summer 2018. Get tickets here.