Touring – reviewed at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking
Guest reviewer: Kay Adams
The Band is a unique experience like no other show I have seen. It is a mix of emotions from beginning to end, stirring up personal memories for everyone lucky enough to be in the audience. Written by award-winning writer Tim Firth and Gary Barlow and directed by Kim Gavin, it’s a beautiful story for anyone who grew up liking a boyband and how those songs became the soundtrack to their lives.
For five 16-year-old girls in 1993, ‘the band’ is everything. Their lives are intertwined by their obsessions with these boys and their music. Twenty-five years on, we are reunited with this group of friends as they try once more to fulfil their dream of meeting their heroes.
The show features the music of Take That, Britain’s most successful boyband of all time, and stars the winners from the BBC’s Let it Shine, Five to Five. I have to say the latter have amazing voices, and if you closed your eyes, would sound exactly like their mentors. Their live band, playing unseen backstage, except in one scene, is brilliant.
The show isn’t even about Take That per se, it’s about these five charismatic and funny girls and how their friendships stand the test of time. More importantly, it’s about the emotions and nostalgia that this show evokes for the whole of the audience, taking them back to their lost youth, their teenage dreams and to the adult who never wants to grow old.
The set is fairly simple but with the aid of graphics, projections and sleek changes it is highly effective. The audience is actually part of the set, re-enacting a concert and even holding phones up in the air. The atmosphere is electric and bad singing isn’t even noticed. The female characters are funny, fabulous and really relatable and how they end up after 25 years is not at all predictable.
A five out of five for me, The Band is a musical experience that will leave a lasting impression, have you grinning from ear to ear and feeling so good inside. It is a reminder that we never really change despite age creeping up on us, it will leave you wanting to go back and watch it all again.
The Band runs at the New Victoria Theatre until 23rd February 2019
photo credit: Matt Crockett