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The Band The Musical - King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Published by: Cameron Lowe on 28th Jun 2018 | View all blogs by Cameron Lowe

 

The Band’s tour rocks and rolls into Glasgow for a two week stay at this most prestigious of venues.  Featuring the music of nineties and noughties sensations, Take That, The Band was bound to be a huge box-office hit … but would the musical rock 5 star reviews?

From time to time, when writing a review, I recognise that my view will not necessarily represent that of the majority of ticket buyers.  At times like this I feel that I should provide some perspective.  A couple of sentences on where I am coming from …  I’ve never been a huge Take That fan!  There.  I said it.  I love pop music but I’ll never get further than the chorus when singing along to Take That.

From the reaction of the packed house at Glasgow’s King’s Theatre, this audience were HUGE fans of Take That.  They couldn’t resist singing along and loved all the tell-tale references to the costumes, choreography and the rich history of Take That.

There are all sorts of things which are good about this production.  The story is strong.  Very Strong.  Back in 1993, young Rachel (Faye Christall) and her 4 best friends win tickets to see their favourites live on stage – The Band.  Shortly after the gig, tragedy strikes the teenagers and the 5 friends become 4.  Soon afterwards, the 4 lose touch.  25 years later, an older Rachel (Rachel Lumberg) wins 4 tickets for a reunion concert of The Band in Prague. She reaches out to 3 friends to reunite on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.  Well defined characters explore how the passage of time has affected them and their loves, losses and realisations along the way.  There are plenty of laughs (both among the teenagers and their adult alter-egos) and the whole thing is underscored by The Band and their music. 

 

The Band themselves are woven through the scenes; occasionally interacting with the action - almost like big stars playing cameo roles in a music video. But mostly, The Band are a ghostly presence on the fringes of the action whenever they are not centre stage at one of the gigs.

Production levels are fabulous.  The Band’s costumes are amazing and the set is remarkably versatile and very cleverly designed by Jon Bausor.  The Band are choreographed flawlessly as they execute almost magical costume and scene changes – even convincingly guiding a passenger jet to take-off from the Kings Theatre stage.

My problem with the show (unexpectedly) is the music.  The songs don’t advance the plot.  At times the underscored lyrics are in open conflict with Tim Firth’s excellent script, rendering it inaudible.  The only exception to this is “Back For Good”, which sees the adult cast and their younger selves sing an octet that works on many levels with the storyline.  More of that, please!  If you are expecting a perfect match of story and song like Mamma Mia or Sunshine on Leith, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.

Cast performances are excellent.  The Band (AJ Bently, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Oafouri, & Sario Solomon) sing very well indeed and their interaction with the onstage action is confidently delivered.   Rachel Lumberg (Rachel) and Emily Joyce (Heather) are particularly strong; carrying recognisable traits from their younger selves and delivering grounded adult versions of those core characters.  Ms Lumberg tugs on all the right heartstrings as she comes to terms with the loss of a friend 25 years on.  Rachelle Diedericks as young Debbie delivers a particularly touching character.  Andy Williams gets a special mention as “Every Dave” for bringing a smile every time he is on stage.

Take That fans will love this show.  Everyone else will like it just as much as I did!

 

The Band – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

26/06/18 – 06/07/18

Matinees Sat 14:30

Evenings Mon-Thu & Sat 19:30

Fridays 17:00, 20:30

Box Office: 0844 871 7648 (bkg. fee) www.atgtickets.com

Tickets: £23.40 - £53.40

 Image: Matt Crockett 

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