Review: Greatest Days. The Official Take That musical. (touring) Curve

Greatest Days (The Official Take That Musical)

Written and Co-directed by Tim Firth

Co-directed by Stacey Haynes

Music and Lyrics by Take That

Curve, Leicester (Touring)

Monday 23rd – Saturday 28th October

This Take That musical (previously performed as The Band) could be the story of my life. Back in Manchester in the 1990s, my three friends and I were completely obsessed with the band to the extent that we had a whole ‘shrine’ dedicated to them. Our workstation was covered in posters from the teen magazines of the time, much to the annoyance of our ‘cooler’ colleagues who thought that Take That would never last.

Yet here I am, all these years later, still a huge fan. Their Circus tour of 2009 remains one of the greatest days of my life and although they may be depleted in numbers, there will always be a special place in my heart for Gary and the boys.

That’s why I am so excited to be at the Curve to watch Greatest Days, the musical which follows five boyband-obsessed best friends in the 1990s who reunite over twenty years later to see their heartthrobs one last time. I might not be reunited with my friends, but I am here with my daughter who is also a big fan. Here’s hoping that we can relive some happy memories.

Let’s start with the all-important boyband, tonight played by Kalifa Burton, Benjamin Cameron, Archie Durrant, Regan Gascoigne, and Alexanda O’Reilly. Their dance moves are spot on – tight, well-choreographed and in perfect sync. Their singing takes a little while to warm up, but given that there has been a cast change, this is understandable. By the time we reach the end of the first act, they crescendo beautifully into ‘Shine,’ my favourite number of the night and a definite crowd-pleaser.

The storyrevolves around Rachel. Jennifer Ellison plays her as an adult, whilst Olivia Hallett plays the teenage version. We’re transported to the early 1990s as young Rachel’s friend Debbie (Mary Moore) wins a competition to go and see the band in concert. The five friends attend the gig together sparking a chain of events that echoes down the years resulting in a heartfelt reunion in Athens many years later.

Without giving away spoilers, I find the script by Tim Firth problematic in places. A number of the issues that the older friends find surprising, indeed shocking, really shouldn’t be. Furthermore, there are too many quips about weight and sexuality that don’t hit the mark for me personally.

Notwithstanding, this is a production that is entertaining for both young and old. It’s great to hear all my favourite Take That numbers, plus a few that I had half-forgotten about, such as ‘Promises.’ Remember that?

The whole cast, especially ‘the boys,’ work hard to bring both the humour and the feeling to the fore culminating in a colourful and fun finale. The audience is on its feet singing, clapping, and dancing along to ‘Never Forget,’ although perhaps more in the style of a concert than a musical theatre production.

There were definite teething problems tonight with three cast changes, but I feel this is a show that will gather momentum and improve with age as the tour continues, much like Take That themselves.

Age Guidance 8+ – Contains loud music (concert level), haze, smoke, flashing lights and some adult language.

Running time: Approx. 2 hours and 10 minutes (including a 20-minute interval)

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