REVIEW: The Band @ The Opera House, Manchester

The cast of The Band, credit Matt Crockett
Pic: Matt Crockett

Take That fans, prepare yourselves for something you’re not going to like. You won’t like this review much, but I’m sure you’ll love The Band, a show featuring the music of that iconic boy group.

I have to admit I came to this show with fairly low expectations. I’ve never been a massive Take That fan, and I thought the X-Factor-style TV show which searched for five lads to star in the show was an afront to Saturday night TV.

But I have to say the show was…OK. That assessment clearly won’t be good enough for fans who packed into the Opera House and lapped up every minute. If you’re a fan – see it. You’ll love it.

The songs were delivered with aplomb by Five to Five, and the staging and special effects, for which Take That concerts became famous, were slick and spectacular. For that reason alone it’s worth having a look.

Rachelle Diedericks as Debbie with Five To Five as The Band in The Band, credit Matt Crockett

But to win over some-one like me, the show needed to have something to appeal beyond the fans. It needed a story strong enough to match the technical genius in staging the show.

For me it didn’t have that. The story of a middle-aged woman looking back to her youth and the exploits of her friends attempting to meet their heroes at a time marred by tragedy and seeing those friends come back to together 25 years later didn’t quite work.

It was Jackie the Musical meets Shirley Valentine. There were some poignant and touching moments but it was a little too cliched and predictable.

I’m sure many will disagree and it won’t bother the fans. This was certainly a show for them.

Runs till Saturday September 30

Dave Toomer


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