The Band at Birmingham Hippodrome

Julie and I were invited to see The Band, based on the music of Take That, at Birmingham Hippodrome. It’s a massively warm musical with a huge heart. Here’s what Julie wrote about the first night:

by Julie Wallis twitter.com/nicenic63

The Band at Birmingham Hippodrome

The Band has arrived at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 12th May. This jukebox musical, based on the music of Take That, is fabulously fun, uplifting and very energetic. Take That songs featured Include: A Million Love Songs, Back For Good, Could It Be Magic, It Only Takes A Minute and Relight My Fire. Like me, you will be singing along and tapping your toes throughout the evening.

This is a story by Tim Firth with plenty of laughs and a few tears along the way. The show opens in teenage Rachel’s bedroom with an adult Rachel played by Rachel Lumberg telling the audience how she was a fan of Take That. Teenage Rachel, played by Faye Christall takes over with Rachelle Diedricks as Debbie, Katy Clayton as Heather, Sarah Kate Howarth as Claire and Lauren Jacobs as Zoe. The boys were such an important part of her youth, so they appear in her imagination in her bedroom.

Rachelle Diedericks, Faye Christall, Katy Clayton, Sarah Kate Howarth and Lauren Jacobs photo by Matt Crockett
Rachelle Diedericks, Faye Christall, Katy Clayton, Sarah Kate Howarth and Lauren Jacobs photo by Matt Crockett

The girls go to their first Take That concert in 1993, when they are all just sweet 16. They all have dreams and ambitions, from Claire the swimmer, who hopes to be in the olympics in the future and Zoe the bookworm, who will go to university.

Fast forward to today: Rachel is joined by other actors playing older versions of the teenage friends. Heather (Emily Joyce), Claire (Alison Fitzjohn) and Zoe (Jayne McKenna) meet up again for the first time in 25 years, and they jet off to see the band again.

A. J. Bentley, Curtis T Johns, Sario Soloman, Yazdan Qafouri, Nick Carsberg photo by Matt Crockett
A. J. Bentley, Curtis T Johns, Sario Soloman, Yazdan Qafouri, Nick Carsberg photo by Matt Crockett

The boys on stage are representative of Take That, rather than trying to mimic the band in a full on Gary, Robbie, Jason, Howard or Mark impression. They are AJ Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Qafouri, and Sario Solomon. As Five to Five they were the winners of Let it Shine, the BBC One search for The Band. They did have all the dance moves, the outfits, including denim dungarees with one strap left undone, and the ubiquitous white suits that every boy band had to have in the 90s.

Andy Williams plays every Dave and he made me laugh a lot. The character name Every Dave makes so much more sense when you meet him. The cast is rounded out by Martin Miller as Rachel’s partner Jeff.

Alison Fitzjohn, Emily Joyce, Jayne McKenna, and Rachel Lumberg photo by  Matt Crockett
Alison Fitzjohn, Emily Joyce, Jayne McKenna, and Rachel Lumberg photo by Matt Crockett

BrumHour Dave and I went to opening night and the show finished with the audience on their feet. Prior to the dancing ovation the entire auditorium was filled with hundreds of torches on mobile phones being waved in the air and that was a sight to behold. Be sure to take a moment to look around you if you go.

This is a really heartwarming story about childhood, friendship and growing up and more about Rachel, Alison, Heather and Zoe than it is about Take That. But it does have a splendid soundtrack.

Sario Solomon, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Qafouri and AJ Bentley photo by Matt Crockett
Sario Solomon, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Qafouri and AJ Bentley photo by Matt Crockett

There was a real band playing instruments on stage all evening which added a real ‘live concert’ feel too. A lovely stroll back in time to reminisce, The Band is fabulously fun and so very energetic. For a few hours, I was back in the 90s and I loved the journey.

The Band is at Birmingham Hippodrome until 12th May. Book tickets here for a night you will Never Forgetbirminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/the-band


This isn’t a sponsored post. Julie and Dave were invited to see The Band by Birmingham Hippodrome.

Julie blogs as RedandGoldWeb here: redandgoldweb.wordpress.com