The year is 1992, and we start by meeting five 16-year-old girls who are transfixed by ‘the band’. Young and carefree the girls are enjoying life supporting the boys, and it helps distract from the reality around them.
Each girl has their own distinct personality and role within the friendship group, along with their own way of supporting the band, and it feels quite symbolic of how music can bring all kinds of people together. They vow to always keep their wristbands remembering the night they got to see The Band for the first time and to always keep in touch, but sometimes life simply gets in the way.
25 years later, Rachel (arguably the biggest fan of all the girls!) wins a competition to see The Band’s reunion in Prague – allowing the perfect opportunity to get the girls back together to relive their youth and enjoy the music which became the soundtrack to their lives once more.
The story isn’t perfect, but it’s an interesting concept filled with strong heart and is very emotive. I think the characters are well-crafted because their qualities and stories are relatable, especially for anyone who has ever loved a band, as I believe its something that never quite leaves you.
We see the young and adult versions of the girls, and the cast are very talented and have a natural humour. Meanwhile the band of boys were there performing the soundtrack and sharing ensemble roles with two other men, and this added to the humour even more. I honestly don’t think I could choose a standout performer as they were all great in equal measure!
The music of Take That is the soundtrack for the show, and whilst ‘the band’ are not there to specifically represent Take That – as the story could be applied to any band of that era in pop music, however it certainly feels like a love letter to both Take That and their lifelong fans. Expect to hear songs like Never Forget, Back For Good, A Million Love Songs, Greatest Day, The Flood, Relight My Fire, Shine and Rule the World. It certainly reminds you of what an impressive backcatalogue the band have accumulated over their career.
Overall, it does as you would expect. It is cheesy but serves a purpose of bringing joy, laughs and tears to an audience that know what its like to love a band. Grab your best girlfriends, brush up on your Take That routines and you’re bound to have a good night out.
You have until Saturday 16th February to catch The Band at the Ipswich Regent. Tickets: ipswich.gov.uk/theband.