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The Band - Hull New Theatre
Graham Clark, Features Writer
If you are old enough to remember the days when Top of the Pops was essential viewing on a Thursday night, so much so that you discussed it with your school friends the morning after. If you also recall the days when Smash Hits had Take That on the cover for what seemed like every other two weeks, then this is a musical you will enjoy.

Admittedly you are not going to get many men going along to Hull to see the show but speaking as a male I think this uplifting , joyful, energetic and nostalgic show is brilliant, I could watch it again and again and never be bored. It appeals to everyone and although part comedy there are sad moments that everyone can relate to.

When you hear the Take That songs together you realise that Gary Barlow and latterly the others in the band, penned some of pop music's finest moments of the last 25 years.

The story concerns 5 young teenage fans where the story starts off in 1993 when the girls are obsessed with Take That. They go to see their idols at the Apollo in Manchester, enjoy the gig but get thrown off the last bus home. They congregate on a rock that overlooks the North West town they live in, form a bond together with the wrist bands that one of the girls manages to blag off the merchandise stall at the gig, they swear they will never take the bands off.

The action fast forwards 25 years to the present when one of the girls, now middle aged, wins a competition to see Take That in Prague, so she contacts the others from 25 years ago and we see how their lives have developed when they all meet up after not seeing each other for all this time.

I won't spoil the storyline but like a good Kay Mellor story, it enthrals as the show progresses. The show is actually written by Tim Firth who wrote Calendar Girls.

Also by Graham Clark...
Billy Idol, Manchester Apollo
Lionel Richie, Scarborough Open Air Theatre
Review Of Blue And Steps, Keep Moat Stadium, Doncaster
The Play That Goes Wrong - Interview With Bobby Hirston
Let's Rock Leeds! - The Retro Festival
Five To Five are excellent as Take That, one of the band Curtis T Johns is from Leeds. The 5 lads don't have any dialogue but their performances of the Take That hits are intermingled with the drama. They provide a convincing portrayal of Take That. I counted at least 10 costume changes and they do all the dance routines you associate with each track.

A notable performance too from Andy Williams who plays many roles such as a bus driver, caretaker, policeman, airline check in personnel amongst other roles.

Martin Miller as partner to Rachel (Rachel Lumberg) might be remembered as Dave in the stage version of The Full Monty, but he plays a comic role in the musical albeit in dead pan fashion.

As the finale ends when the whole cast perform Never Forget the whole audience are now on their feet - even the men.

In the words of the hits performed throughout the show, this musical will definitely Relight your Fire and make you Shine.

A heart warming story, true to life, top pop songs and a brilliant cast. One of the best shows touring at the moment. A West End run is unavoidable.

Runs until Saturday 17 March 2018

Hull New Theatre
Telephone 01482 300306
www.hulltheatres.co.uk

The Band - Hull New Theatre, 8th March 2018, 11:49 AM