Picture the scene…. its early nineties. A young teenage girl is scrabbling to turn up the weekly episode of “Top of the Pops”
This was me. And not only me but millions of other teenage girls across the world.
Tonight “The Band” opened at the Grand Opera House, Belfast. It begins its run until Saturday 24th November 2018. This play is the brain child of the Olivier award winner Tim Firth and features the incredible hits from Take That.
The play follows the story of five 16 year old girls to whom their favourite boy band is everything. It portrays the cruel twists of life that lead them to reunite 25 years later.
From the second I took my seat I was immersed. The small touches such as the “Ceefax” listings on the stage took me miles into my past. I was glued, reminiscing of the hours spent waiting for pages to come back around (if you know you know!)
The play enveloped me like a warm, comforting bowl of tomato soup on a cold winters day.
The teenage cast of Faye Christall, Katy Clayton, Rachelle Diedericks, Sarah Kate Howarth and Lauren Jacobs were superb.
They held the stage with presence and each character provided a friend that was relatable.
I resonated with the teenage cast and the friendships they established in the first act. I was flung back to seeing my first concert and feelings of excitement bubbled up within me.
As the first act hit its crescendo I found myself welling up and feeling as desolate and empty as the characters on the stage.
The dancing was choreographed to perfection and the stage was magnificent. The wardrobe selection was also spot on for the era. In fact I think most of it is on its second time around in the shops at the moment!
When the curtain fell to signal the interval I had to take a moment to gather my thoughts (and my breath). I can honestly say that even if you had never seen or heard of “Take That” you would still be
The vocals were phenomenal.
AJ Bentley, Curtis T. Jones, Yazdan Qafouri, Sario Solomon and Harry “Fabulous” Brown (yes that is actually his name!) belted out, crooned and serenaded me and every other person in the theatre.
The song choices were fabulous and fitted into the story line perfectly.
The second act was just as breathtaking as the first.
The cast of Rachel Lumberg, Alison Fitzjohn, Emily Joyce and Jayne McKenna continue the story seamlessly and whisk you into your middle years where real life has replaced hopes and dreams.
The plot twists and turns through the second act and again I was captivated from start to finish. Additional characters such as Jeff and Every Dave provide welcome comedic value as well as pulling at the heartstrings of the audience.
In my opinion this play would appeal to everyone who ever had a teenage friend with who they shared a connection. I think this will appeal to men as well as women. My son came with me and he had never even heard of Take That!
The finale had everyone in the theatre standing up and dancing, singing, clapping and swaying. It was the perfect ending to the play and I can honestly day I left on a high and wanting more.
The Band is on at Grand Opera House, Belfast until 24th November 2018.