Reviewed by Linda Curtain
Boyband fever has certainly hit Plymouth this week with the arrival of the new musical ‘The Band’. This 2017 musical, written by Tim Firth, features music of the much-loved Take That with the band members of the cast having previously been selected on the BBC talent show ‘Let it Shine’.
Having spent much of the 90’s listening to their music and seeing various memorabilia that my then teenage daughter collected, I was thrilled to get the chance to review this show.
Arriving at the Theatre Royal Plymouth last evening (15 May 2018), the atmosphere was buzzing as everyone eagerly awaited the commencement of the show. It was lovely to see the theatre so busy and as always, the welcoming Theatre Royal staff were ensuring that everyone knew where to go and had their complimentary wrist bands as they entered the auditorium.
Getting to the Theatre Royal Plymouth is easy as it is located in the city centre, on the main Royal Parade. With several nearby car parks, parking is usually problem-free, but it is worth allowing some extra time when seeing a big production as you may need to park a bit further away. With a lovely coffee shop and comfy bar areas, it is good to arrive at the theatre early and absorb the atmosphere before going into the show.
Although featuring the music of Take That, the show isn’t actually about them. It focuses on a group of five teenage girls in 1992 who are obsessed by the latest boy band – watching them on Top of The Pops and having their bedrooms adorned with their posters. A chance competition win sees them going to a live concert and as an audience you get to join in their adventure. As with school friendships, the girls drift apart only to be reunited twenty-five years later when one of the girls wins tickets for the bands come back tour in Prague. It was good to see how the group of friends, who at sixteen had such hopes and aspirations for the future, had changed. The use of two girls to show each character at different ages was well done. With some tear-jerking moments and some great comedy elements, this show portrayed how short and precious life can be.
The boys in ‘The Band’ namely A.J. Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Qafouri and Sario Solomon have certainly come a long way since their early days on the BBC show ‘Let it Shine’, where they had to sing and fight for survival to shine through as a winning band member. With slick dance moves and great harmonies, they certainly do shine.
The staging and lighting was outstanding with so many great stage sets it is difficult to pick a favourite – sets that had the boys bursting out of bedroom furniture, leaping out of school lockers and posing as sea gods in a fountain in Prague!!
The standing ovation, with clapping and dancing along in the auditorium, was certainly well deserved for this talented, enthusiastic cast.
With some strong language there is a recommendation of being not suitable for some younger children, but the language was well within the context of the characters.
For a wonderful evening of great music, incredible stage sets and slick choreography go along to the Theatre Royal Plymouth before the 26th May and join The Band as they shine for the Plymouth audiences.
A well-deserved five-star rating.
Tickets cost from £19.50 to £49.50 (booking fees may apply).
The Band is at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth from 15-26 May 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.theatreroyal.com or call the box office on 01752 267222.
Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR | 01752 267222