By Dave Bushnell
So if you’d told me that last night I’d be re-living my childhood through a Take That musical, I definitely wouldn’t have believed you.
Turns out though, after heading to Hull New Theatre on Tuesday night, I actually did. The Band has opened up in Hull until Saturday and, admittedly, with a little scepticism, I went along to see if it was any good or not.
My doubts simply came from thinking it was more for the ladies, being a musical based on Take That. But it turns out, it was actually a really clever, brilliantly nostalgic take on 90s childhood with a ton of laughs, and I really enjoyed the show.
Growing up in Manchester myself, it hit closer to home than I had ever imagined. Sat waiting for the performance to begin, we were greeted with snapshots of Ceefax pages from September 1993 (ask your parents kids!) providing us with headlines on Bill Clinton’s “astounding moral character”, how Jurassic Park had hit a box office record and the Top 40 Chart with Take That (who else?) at number 1.
The opening scene introduced us to young 16 year old, boy-band mad, Rachel as she enters her bedroom to watch Top of the Pops so she didn’t miss seeing ‘The Boys’ perform on TV. Queue her imagination and The Boys (Five to Five, winners of Let It Shine) making a personal appearance in her room, before sleep and getting ready for a typical day at school.
That set the tone for the show, and after bringing in her sidekicks, Claire, Heather, Debbie and Zoe, we join the girls on their journey to see The Boys, live in concert in Manchester. After tragedy strikes though, the girls separate only to reunite after 25 years (now in their early 40s) with a lucky competition win giving them a trip to see The Boys in Prague.
Before I went in, I was told it was a musical. When I came out, I’d define it as a tragic comedy with a ton of Take That songs thrown in for good measure.
The set and effects were impressive; taking you from high school, through to an airport runway and onto a live Take That style concert with quick changes, good props and lighting effects. The 16-year-old girls were charming, while the 41-year-old ladies were fun to watch. Five to Five clearly have talent, singing and dancing to every Take That song like it was effortless.
By the end, everyone was on their feet – and I mean everyone! – to dance and clap to a full melody of Take That songs. It almost felt like we were at a concert ourselves so it was a great way to finish. The combination of it all made for a crackin’ stage musical that you’ll love, especially if you were a 90s kid like me.
Just a word of warning though… if you don’t like bad language, there’s quite a bit in this and if you’re sensitive to bright lights, you may find it uncomfortable at points.
It’s been a hugely successful tour so far for The Band so it’s likely tickets will sell out quick this week. You can book online at hulltheatres.co.uk and just to hint about Thursday night’s performance… If you can make it, book it now while there are still seats available as you may be in for a really special treat. This tweet from one of the producers, David Pugh, tweeted this yesterday on Tuesday.
— David Pugh (@davidsoho1) March 6, 2018
We’ll just leave that there. Go see the show!