Take me back, take me back to the 90's a decade of tamagotchis, inflatable rucksacks and of course Take That.
'The Band' a musical written by Tim Firth and directed by Kim Gavin and Jack Ryder storms into Stoke-on-Trent this week for a two week visit, and I 'Pray' you put your Christmas shopping trips on hold as it is without doubt the best production of the year.
Not only does The Band have great songs from start to finish, but one of its real strengths is the relatable storyline. Set in Manchester, it follows the story of five teenage girls who through tragic circumstances lose contact and reunite 25 years later; for the concert of their lives. Filled with highs and lows the story will have you laughing and crying in equal measure, packets of tissues are definitely an essential item!
Rachel Lumberg leads the way as 'Rachel' bringing a warm familiarity to the role. Backed up by Alison Fitzjohn as 'Claire', Emily Joyce as 'Heather' and Jayne Mckenna as 'Zoe' they create a quartet of characters that you care about from beginning to end.
Pictures by Matt Crockett
Their teenage counterparts also catapult you back to your own school days, complete with memories of 'Top of the Pops' and taping songs off the television.
The Boys of 'The Band' will definitely relight your fire, as winners of the TV show 'Let it Shine' they bring all of the favourite Take That classics alive with beautiful melodies. As you may expect all of the favourite songs are accounted for including 'A Million Love Songs', 'Greatest Day', and the iconic 'Never Forget' (complete with original dance moves).
The stage design really makes the production 'Shine' from the moment 'The Band' themselves begin appearing out of items such as wardrobes, dressing tables and high school lockers. It is innovative and original and sets the scene from homely kitchens, school corridors, airports and even concert arenas.
So could it be magic? Book your tickets today and find out for yourself!
Reviewed by Samantha Weston at the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent
The Band is currently touring until 14th July 2018 with more dates set to be announced soon. For the latest news and to buy tickets visit the shows website.