THE BAND

THE REGENT THEATRE, HANLEY

    

Reality TV, eh? Where would we be without it? The pub, spending time with our loved ones, doing ace stuff?

Alright, alright, I get what you mean. But for every dreadful boy band, breakdancing OAP and singing goldfish, you get some ‘contestants’ with real talent. Like tonight.

As a big fan of Take That, I was always going to enjoy tonight’s opening night. But ‘could it be magic’? Well yes, it was. But not in the way you’d think……

I went, fully expecting simply a Take That tribute band of an evening. A night simply filled with a plethora of hits from the band. Possibly my favourite band. What’s not to love, eh? Yet, whilst it delivered plenty of the band’s biggest hits, it really wasn’t about Take That. Sounds daft, yeah, but The Band is a drama, superb drama – all about love, friendship, spirit, community and dreams. The fact that it has Take That as a hook makes little difference to something that is joyous yet tearful, funny yet poignant, gritty yet light-hearted.

It’s all about life and what it throws at you. Seen through the eyes and ears of a group of girls who are simply bonkers about The Band, it takes you on their almost-three-decade journey from adolescence to adulthood. Set against a pair of gigs twenty five years apart, what you get is a group of friends brought together, twice, through music. Written by Tim Firth – who wrote the amazing Calendar Girls – The Band is a big surprise. It’s a superb piece of musical theatre with outstanding acting, singing and choreography. One that will appeal to everybody. A superior Mamma Mia, I’d say.

And without spoiling it, the ‘Back for Good’ section is simply superb stuff, and worth the admission price alone! The Band could have been a cheese-fest, but what it should be is a brilliant film in a few years’ time.

The Band goes beyond stereotyping and generalisations. Such a shame that my other half couldn’t, and I ended up going with my daughter instead of him. His loss, her gain! Indeed, a night she’ll ‘Never forget’. Sorry, couldn’t resist!

VICTORIA BUNN

THE BAND runs at The Regent Theatre, Hanley, until December 9th. For more information and to book tickets, visit atgtickets.com/stoke or call their box office on 0844 871 7649