Words: Matthew Hyde
After a UK tour the Take That musical arrives in town amid much fanfare. However, despite showcasing absolute classics such as 'Relight My Fire' this new British musical barely even flickers.
This isn’t the story of the famous boy band, but rather a group of teenage girls whose friendship is cemented by their love of a boy group referred to only as ‘the band’.
Tragedy strikes, the girls lose contact and lead pretty miserable lives before reuniting for a weekend in Prague to watch their teenage idols perform once more. The story is pretty weak and with a shambolic script to boot it is unlikely to 'Rule the World'.
All actors give it a good go but the material doesn’t offer them much range or depth, leaving them to resort to cliché and the obvious.
It is refreshing to see a diverse range of bodies on stage with adult Claire (Alison Fitzjohn), who lives with her failed dreams of becoming an Olympic diver, now being massively overweight.
Not only does this prove the most shocking revelation to the reunited friends but her size becomes the butt of endless fat jokes. It’s all very uncomfortable. The four woman are also portrayed as the clichéd Brits abroad when they’re arrested in Prague.
And what of the band itself? A.J. Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Qafouri and Sario Solomon all won the reality show Let It Shine for these parts.
Their singing and dancing is one of the few positives however they are everything Take That wasn’t – which is bland.
To be fair they do showcase Take That classics and you remember just how great these pop songs are. Your toe will start tapping, your head will start bopping and a smile creeps across your face. These numbers really are the show’s saving grace.
The production may well appeal to a certain demographic and if you want to reminisce in the glory days of Take That then there is enjoyment to be had. Anything other than that and you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Rating – 2*
The Band plays at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until January 12th