The Smash Hits generation will be flocking to the Edinburgh Playhouse this week for the Scottish premiere of Tim Firth’s The Band which is, surprisingly, so much more than just a nostalgic run-through of the boyband’s greatest hits.
First things first: The Band is not about Take That. Instead, it is a heartwarming tale about four estranged school friends – Rachel (Rachel Lumberg), Claire (Alison Fitzjohn), Zoe (Jayne McKenna) and Heather (Emily Joyce) – who rekindle their friendship whilst travelling to Prague to see the band perform on their reunion tour 25 years after they lost touch. Whilst the story will resonate with anyone who is partial to a bit of nostalgia and who grew up infatuated with a pop group, it is certainly not just for fans of Take That.
Emily Joyce is hilarious as the straight-talking Heather whilst Alison Fitzjohn steals the show as Claire, an insecure former diver who has put on a significant amount of weight since leaving school. Five to Five, the winners of BBC talent search show Let it Shine, churn out pitch-perfect renditions of Take That’s greatest hits throughout the show but manage to avoid ever sounding like a second-rate tribute act.
The show is as touching as it is funny and as relatable as it is ridiculous. Since going on sale last year, it has become the fasted selling musical theatre tour of all time and it’s easy to see why – Take That fans are still desperate to take any opportunity to sing along to hits including Shine, Relight My Fire and A Million Love Songs, just like the show’s protagonists.
See it while you can – The Band is a show you’ll Never Forget.
The Band is on at the Edinburgh Playhouse until Saturday 14 July 2018. Tickets, priced from £19.50, are available via https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-band/edinburgh-playhouse/
Words: Amy Anderson