Review - The Band, Theatre Royal, Norwich

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Now this is a clever show and quite different from what I thought it would going to be.

How easy it would have been to have simply told the backstory of Take That - one of our favourite ever

boy bands.

But this new Tim Firth, think Calender Girls, musical is smart from the show’s very name onwards.

Sure the music is what we are there for, we all have connections with the band’s numerous hits, but the piece actually centres on a group of teenage girls and their reunion some 25 years later.

It is both poignant and laugh out loud funny, with the fashions, the banter and a hefty dollop of nostalgia thrown in, too.

And it does, of course, make you think of your own school friends, how your life has panned out, and the decisions you’ve made - the good ones and the bed!

The Take That songs, and we hear them all, are performed by Five To Five, the group which won the TV talent series, Let It Shine, but they are rather out-done by the female performers, both the teenagers and the middle aged ones!

I particularly enjoyed Rachel Lumberg, who held the piece together as the mature Rachel with more than a little unsolved business from her past

to unravel.

This is a joyous night out and I loved it!

Sarah Hardy

The show continues until Saturday. Visit