Review: Take That’s new musical The Band shines in Manchester

Francesca Eagleton | 28th September 2017

Take That’s brand new musical takes fans on a trip down memory lane through the nineties, as they launch their new touring musical The Band.

Co-produced by former Take That members Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Mark Owen and Robbie Williams, this highly anticipated musical features their well-loved music that we all know and love and is already the fastest-selling show in British history.

Surprisingly, ‘The Band’ isn’t the story of the five band members, but instead of five teenage girls whose lives revolve around their devotion to ‘The Band’ and their desire to meet them, which continues long into their adult years.

As the show opens we’re transported back to September 1992 a time of Ceefax, Smash Hits Magazine and of course Top of The Pops, where Take That topped the charts with their hit song Pray.

Faye Christall as Young Rachel with Five to Five Credit: Matt Crockett

The show is a nostalgic journey for anyone who grew up in the 90’s. From singing into your hairbrush to Top Of The Pops in your bedroom, whilst posters from Smash Hits Magazine were plastered across your bedroom wall – we relived it all with the help of 16-year-old Rachel (Faye Christall).

As she danced along to her favourite band, played by five to five – winners of BBC’s Let It Shine, Rachel introduced each of the boys as they climbed out of various parts of the cleverly designed set.

The Five to Five lads – AJ Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Qafouri and Sario Solomon are a band in their own right and work tirelessly throughout the show.  Although the storyline focuses around the lives of the five girls, all of the boys play an integral part and do justice to some of Take That’s biggest hits.

Five to Five  – Credit: Matt Crockett

The show continues to follow the lives of Rachel and her best friends Debbie (Rachelle Diedricks), Claire (Sarah Kate Howarth), Zoe (Lauren Jacobs) and Heather (Katy Clyaton). Who make a vow to each other that their friendship will never be broken – until tragedy strikes.

Fast forward 25 years and the once teenage girls are now women who take the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions. From shedding tears of laughter at quick witted jokes to tears of sadness as we watch certain events unfold.

A special mention cannot go unmissed to Rachel Lumberg, who delivered a tear-jerking performance from the moment she stepped on stage as the older version of Rachel. The audience immediately connect with her character as we continue to watch her journey.

A profound moment in the show is the emotional retelling of A Million Love Songs’. The once penultimate single acts as a voice in Rachel’s head throughout the show, whilst she reflects on the life she’s been given’.

Rachel Lumberg as Rachel with Five to Five – Credit: Matt Crockett

The audience are treated to countless other Take That classics including; Pray, Relight My Fire, Greatest Day and Rule The World to name a few.

The songs are essentially a sound track to not only Rachel’s life but also the other girls, as with each pinnacle moment came another classic hit. This resonated with the audience as with each song, erupted a chorus from the crowd singing along.

Because Take That are loved by so many, it may be hard to understand but the boys somehow make all of the songs their own. Drawing the attention away from the well-known songs and instead to the heart warming storyline.

The Cast of The Band – Credit: Matt Crockett

Overall, behind a track list of well-loved classics is a truly heart warming story that you’ll find difficult not to fall in love with. One minute you’re laughing along to the quick witted jokes by the young five girls and the next you’re sniffling into your tissue as we watch their journey’s conclude.

There’s no doubt that this show is going to go from strength to strength as it embarks on it’s UK tour.

‘It only takes a minute (girl)’ to grab your tickets to this all signing, all dancing shiny new musical. It’s sure to be a night that you will ‘Never Forget’.

The Band is at Manchester Opera House until Saturday 30 September, then departs on a national tour taking in Sheffield, Bradford, Southampton, Llandudno, Stoke, Cardiff, Liverpool, Norwich, Canterbury, Hull, Leeds, Newcastle, Bristol, Birmingham, Plymouth, Northampton, Nottingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Tickets are available from

The Cast of The Band – Credit: Matt Crockett