The Band UK Tour (Bradford, Front Row!) Review
Hellooo! It's been a while hasn't it! This afternoon I took myself over to the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford to see matinee performance The Band! Every time I've mentioned it to people, they've said 'what band?' so if you don't know, The Band is a musical using the music of Take That! Kind of like how Mamma Mia uses Abba's music however, The Band is completely different to Mamma Mia! Considering it was a matinee performance, the audience was great and everyone was clapping and dancing along. The atmosphere in the theatre was amazing!
I was sat in seat C8 which was the third seat in from the right on the front row which cost £39.50. For this performance, the whole of the stalls cost £49.50 apart from the front row which was £10 cheaper and I've found that this seems to be the case for a lot of shows at the Alhambra so if you're after a cheaper stalls ticket, go for the front row! I was off to the side but I didn't really miss much from the right hand side or the back of the stage so I'd happily sit there again! Front row bonuses: no heads in the way and plenty of legroom!
Everything sounded great and I liked that the band were kind of hidden in the set rather than in the orchestra pit. However, some of the microphones did seem to kind of be a bit quiet and then louder and then quieter in the dialogue driven scenes near the start but it was evened out pretty quickly. I liked the sets throughout the show and loved the use of projections and mesh panels from start to finish! I also loved how the boys were hidden in the sets every now and again.
Now onto the actual show! I'm not going to lie, I was a bit worried that the show would revolve around the songs and you would have to be a Take That superfan to like the show but that's definitely not the case! I like Take That and I know all their songs and everything but I wouldn't call myself a fan but I really enjoyed the show! I shall try and be vague with the story so there's no spoilers! So the show opens with five teenage girls in 1993 who are obsessed with 'the band' and how they grow up with them. Rather than the songs being shoehorned in, a lot of it felt a bit more like a play with music in the background and used for transitions but there were still stage musical style performances. There were times where it was a bit cheesy but lets be honest, bands always have and always will have a bit of cheese in there so it worked quite well and wasn't too overwhelming.
I thought that the story was beautiful and as a former teenager who was obsessed with a band or two (*cough* Lawson *cough* The Wanted), it struck many a chord with me and watching the show threw me back a few years to fangirling with my friends! Definitely not still a fangirl... Anyways, it did feel at times that you were thrown from happy moments to sudden sad, dark moments but looking back on it, I think the sharp contrasts worked well in the show. For me, The Band left a real impact! I mean I nearly cried countless times but laughed just as many times and it exceeded all my expectations!
On to the cast! The young girls were all amazing! I loved how they each played their characters so individually! I particularly loved Katy Clayton's portrayal as Heather but Faye Christall, Rachelle Diedericks, Sarah Kate Howarth and Lauren Jacobs were all spot on! As the grown up girls, Rachel Lumberg, Alison Fitzjohn, Emily Joyce and Jayne McKenna were all incredible! I loved how they worked with each other and the younger girls! Finally, the boys playing The Band. They were all just brilliant really! Their voices sounded incredible together and their dancing was great too! Unfortunately, Yazdan Qafouri was unable to perform but I was lucky enough to see Harry (Fabulous) Brown make his professional debut! Although a lot of people are put off by seeing an understudy, I don't mind it and especially with it being his debut, I was more than happy to see him! I could write a whole post on understudies but anyway... He did amazing considering it was his first performance! There were a couple of hiccups here and there but nothing massively noticeable so I'd say he did pretty damn well! I also got to meet 4/5 of the boys at the stage door who were all super nice and made time for everyone waiting! I just wish I wasn't such an awkward individual when it comes to stage door experiences!
All in all, you definitely don't need to be a Take That fan to love the show! I liked that throughout the show, they didn't give the band or any of the members names which just made it even more relatable because it wasn't specifically Take That. I loved the show and although The Band was full of comedy, the story was also remarkably moving and I'm very tempted to go and see it again!
Thanks for reading! Sophie