Previewed 1 December 2018, Opened 4 December 2018, Closed 12 January 2019 at the Haymarket Theatre Royal
The 'Take That' musical The Band in London for a strictly limited Christmas and New Year Season of just 50 performances
It's 1992 and for five 16-year-old girls, the band is everything. Now, 25 years later, the girls reunite to try once more to fulfil their dream of meeting the boyband whose music became the soundtrack to their lives.
Written by Tim Firth, with songs by Take That - one of the most successful boyband of all time - including Never Forget, Back for Good, A Million Love Songs, Greatest Day, The Flood, Relight My Fire, Shine, and Rule the World.
The members of the boy band in the stage musical - AJ Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Qafouri and Sario Solomon - where choosen for the roles through the BBC television reality show Let It Shine.
The cast features, as The Band AKA 'Five To Five': A. J. Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Sario Soloman, and Yazdan Qafouri; with Alison Fitzjohn as 'Claire', Sarah Kate Howarth as 'Young Claire', Emily Joyce as 'Heather', Katy Clayton as 'Young Heather', Rachel Lumberg as 'Rachel', Faye Christall as 'Young Rachel', Jayne McKenna as 'Zoe', Lauren Jacobs as 'Young Zoe', Rachelle Diedricks as 'Debbie', Martin Miller as 'Jeff', and Andy Williams as 'Dave'. Directed and choreographed by Kim Gavin and Jack Ryder, with designs by Jon Bausor, lighting by Patrick Woodroffe, and sound by Terry Jardine and Nick Lidster.
Tim Firth's West End credits include the comedy Neville's Island, most recently seen at the Duke of York's Theatre in 2014 starring Adrian Edmondson, Miles Jupp, Neil Morrissey and Robert Webb; the comedy Sign of the Times seen at the Duchess Theatre in 2011 starring Matthew Kelly; the 'Madness Musical' Our House seen at the Cambridge Theatre in 2003; the comedy Calendar Girls seen at the Noel Coward Theatre in 2009, and a musical version of the show, The Girls seen at the Phoenix Theatre in 2017.
The music of Take That has also been used in the stage musical Never Forget - written by Danny Brocklehurst - that was staged at the Savoy Theatre in 2008.
When this production opened here in London at the Haymarket Theatre in December 2018, Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail commented that "it's just my sort of show: easy tunes, fine singing and a storyline with a judicious blend of sentimentalism and English self-teasing." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard said that "this should have been a banker and yet, bewilderingly, it's a stinker... writer Tim Firth leaves no cliche unturned but adds some dubious snippets of pop psychology as he plots the dopiest and most generic story of a group of female friends."
When this production was originally seen at the Opera House Theatre in Manchester in September 2017, Peter Robinson in the Guardian though that it was "a warmly articulated, exciting and funny celebration of what it is to be a music fan... Tim Firth’s writing radiates warmth, and beyond grandly staged set-pieces there’s also a strong, likable attention to detail." Dominic Maxwell in the Times explained that "Tim Firth has come up with a novel idea for how to give Take That fans the jukebox musical they want, but not how they expect it. And although Tim Firth's broad-brushstrokes storytelling takes a while to offer enough emotional payoff, the staging is zippy enough and the mood open-hearted enough to keep us onside... it’s sometimes witty, always well played. It works its 'Could It Be Magic' on us by the end." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph highlighted that "there are certainly flashes of wit, and the closing sections of the evening do everything they can to tug at the heartstrings, but neither in terms of uproarious comedy nor pained emotion are we in the same realm as Mamma Mia!... It’s great to hear those songs again, but otherwise it all feels terribly déjà vu."
The Band in London at the Haymarket Theatre previewed from 1 December 2018, opened on 4 December 2018 and closed on 12 January 2019