Could it be Magic? The Band – A New Musical
The Band comes to Northampton.
The opening night of The Band, the smash hit musical based around the songs of Britain`s most successful boy band ever, Take That, was received by a rapturous and delighted sell out audience at the Royal & Derngate.
The audience represented almost every age group, from seven to seventy! There were the original Take That fans of over twenty five years ago to new listeners in their teens and younger, discovering their classic pop songs for the first time.
Before the show the audience were taken back to the 9th September 1993, on a large television screen showing the much treasured Ceefax, setting the scene for the year in which Take That held the number one position in the charts with Pray. Jurassic Park was packing them in at the cinema and Bill Clinton was taking his seat at The White House as the 42nd President of the United States.
The stage sets throughout were excellent, conveying a sense of place with minimum props, but to great effect. The story begins in the bedroom of Rachel (Faye Christall) with the five boys bursting out of furniture straight into their first song, setting the tempo for a fast paced and energetic show.
The girls were entirely convincing as sixteen year old teenagers, five very different girls with diverse aspirations, bound together by their friendship and the band! It is an honest account which many teens and parents in the audience would relate to. I thought the show was going to be about the boy band, but it is also about the band that ties our friendships together, in many cases for life! I want you, “Back for Good”.
“Every Take That tour of performance is always a spectacle, so that’s what we want to portray in this show, and it is a spectacle without doubt!
Nick Carsberg – Five to Five
The changing sets were inspired; the Manchester and Prague bus scenes worked brilliantly and the gladiatorial statue moments dramatic and theatrical. Comic interludes from the driver helped to add even more amusing periods in what became at times an emotional and poignant series of events as one of the five friends, Debbie (Rachell Diedericks) dies in an accident.
The songs interlock with the story perfectly, “ A million love songs” was a particularly tender and emotive moment, perfectly sung by the excellent Five to Five, AJ Bentley, Curtis T Jones, Nick Carsberg, Sario Solomon and understudy for indisposed Yazdan Qafouri, Mr Harry Fabulous Brown.
The girls are reunited twenty five years after their first gig together when Rachel wins a trip to Prague to see their former teenage idols in a reunion concert. What has happened to the girls over the intervening years, their teenage hopes and ambitions makes for an uplifting and heartening story of friendship, companionship and hope.
“It is so well written and audiences will go away feeling like they have been on a huge emotional rollercoaster of a journey …. And Take That can`t half write a good tune!
Emily Joyce (Heather)
The plane flying over the heads of the audience as the lucky five fly off was an impressive finale before the interval. Flying out with Budjet Air – Come on, Lets Fly, the now forties women fail to make the concert after an unfortunate incident with a male marble appendage, but their friendship is renewed and restored.
The songs of Take That in full concert mode with bright full lights and a stirring live band, made me feel as though I was at one of their concerts with the audience singing, dancing and turning on their phone lights to enhance the concert atmosphere and mood.
This was a brilliant musical; a shining performance from all of the cast. A fast paced and entertaining story of friendship and nostalgia, threaded together by some of the most popular and familiar pop tunes of the last thirty years. The band is a heart – warming, emotional and uplifting tribute to the power of music and friendship.
A superb show, not to be missed!
“We are incredibly proud and excited that our first production as theatre producers is The Band – a musical that we think will touch the hearts of not just our fans, but everyone.”
The Band features the music of Take That, Britain’s most successful boyband of all times, whose songs include Never Forget, Back for Good, A Million Love Songs, Greatest Day, The Flood, Relight My Fire, Shine and Rule the World, all of which are performed in the show perfectly.
The Band is played by AJ Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Qafouri and Sario Solomon, who, as Five To Five, won BBC’s Let It Shine. Playing the parts of Rachel and Young Rachel are Rachel Lumberg and Faye Christall respectively. The cast is completed by Emily Joyce as Heather, Alison Fitzjohn as Claire, Jayne McKenna as Zoe, Katy Clayton as Young Heather, Sarah Kate Howarth as Young Claire, Lauren Jacobs as Young Zoe, Rachelle Diedericks as Debbie, Martin Miller as Jeff and Andy Williams as Dave.
The Band is directed by Kim Gavin and Jack Ryder and produced by David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers and Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Mark Owen and Robbie Williams.
The Band has now become one of the most successful musical theatre tours ever, and this breath-taking production takes to the Derngate stage until Saturday 9 June. Tickets are priced from £19.50 to £49.50* and can be booked by calling Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at www.royalandderngate.co.uk.
Credit: Photographs by Matt Crockett