Review: The Band – The Take That Musical, Manchester Opera House

We all knew it was coming! There’s now a musical using the music of Take That and I was privileged to see it at Manchester’s Opera House this week.

Written by Tim First and created by David Pugh, Dafydd Rogers and all of Take That (sans Jason Orange – boo!), The Band uses the group’s greatest hits, both new and old, along with a beautiful story about friendship and growing up, to create an incredible sense of excitement and nostalgia.

The Band features winners of BBC’s Let It Shine, Five to Five, starring in the roles of “The Band”. Let me tell you, they’re quite lovely to see dressed as Roman soldiers, chiselled and reined up, and pulling a chariot whilst singing ‘Relight My Fire’. The band is made up of AJ Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Jones, Yazdan Qafouri and Sario Solomon, and they did a great job of bringing Take That to the stage.

The story centres around five teenage girls who are obsessed with a boyband, which is a very familiar thing for me – and probably for most of you reading this. They go to see the band in concert and have an amazing night – then 25 years later meet up again and jet off to Prague to see the band’s reunion tour. Of course, predicaments and arguments happen along the way which provides the perfect situation to slip in a Take That song; and I’m here for any excuse to throw in a catchy tune.

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Trying to not throw spoilers in here is very difficult but the main cast, Rachel Lumberg, Alison Fitzjohn, Emily Joyce and Jayne McKenna make a believable group of friends. I’d love to go on holiday with them because they’re a absolute riot! Shout out to Emily Joyce (MVP!) for making me laugh at every line and being what I want to be when I’m a proper grown up. She was also Janet in BBC’s My Hero from years ago and as soon as I recognised her I was LIVING! I loved Janet in My Hero!

Huge congrats to the girls playing the younger counterparts on their stellar performances, also! Faye Christall, Rachelle Diedricks, Lauren Jacobs, Katy Clayton and Sarah Kate Howarth are a joy to watch!

I really enjoyed The Band. If you love Take That – and made out with the posters on your wall of those hotties under a waterfall from the ‘Pray’ music video in your adolescent years like I did – you’ll love it!

Tickets are available for The Band in Manchester until Saturday and then is touring across the UK, next stop Stoke-On-Trent and then Liverpool. Available on the ATG website!