“Greatest Days” the musical is at Hull New Theatre this week. I was never a great Take That fan so when the boss sent me the invitation from the theatre, I was not sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself having an entertaining evening.
The musical follows five teenagers during the band’s first flush of success. I say first flush as Take That got back together and are still touring. One of the girls (Debbie) wins tickets to see their favourite boy band (Take That are never referred to by name, just as ‘The Band’) and excitedly tells her friends, Rachel, Claire, Heather and Zoe. As teens do, lots of fibs are told to parents as to their whereabouts on the night of the concert and off they go chatting about which band member they will marry – all of them! Afterwards they go to the rocks above their town and pledge to always be friends, taking an oath on their concert wrist bands. Tragically, that is the last time they see Debbie.
Twenty-five years later we see Rachel (Jennifer Ellison) win a radio competition to see the band in Athens. It’s four tickets. Her partner Jeff thinks he will be going with her and another couple they socialise with, but Rachel has been remembering her school friends and the night they spent at a concert 25 years ago. She finds them and invites them. Jeff wasn’t too happy!
The girls meet up, all wondering how they will have changed, who will have achieved the dreams they had as 16-year olds so long ago. Surprised at each other’s lives and the journeys they have been on. Off they go to Athens, get arrested for damaging a statue and miss the concert.
Not only was this a great journey through the hits of one of the most iconic boy bands in music history, but it was also a journey through life that many of us take with the music we grow up with. The Beatles in the 60’s, The Osmonds in the 70’s, Duran Duran in the 80’s or Take That in the 90’s all grow along with us and stay in our hearts. There were chart-topping songs galore last night “Back for Good”, “Shine”, to name a couple.
As for the five guys playing the parts of the Take That boy band, they never attempted to impersonate Robbie Williams, Gary Barlow and the boys, but they have fantastic dance moves, slick and well-rehearsed and they can all sing. Some of the numbers they sang (both band and our girls) were so harmonious and beautiful and did justice to the original.
Interspersed between the songs, watch out for the authority figure, caretaker, bus driver, airport worker, cop in Athens which were all brilliantly played by Alan Stocks who sews the story as he appears throughout.
Greatest Day is an homage to Take That’s extraordinary catalogue of hits whilst offering a compelling and emotional story that resonates through audiences of all ages. (some re-living their youth and waving arms along which was great to see). It’s a celebration of love, friendship and the enduring power of music in our lives
Finally, the set. Never in the history of theatre, has a set comprised of steps taken on so many roles, from school, to airport to Athens, all moved around by our gallant band. They worked hard all night combining set moving, singing and dancing.
Tickets available here. Availibility is limited.