The Official Take That Musical : Greatest Days

"Not quite top of the pops"

Take That are arguably one of the most famous boybands in the world. The chart topping sensations first bounded onto the airwaves in 1990, with hit-after-hit, a heartbreaking break up and a spectacular reunion under their belt.

The Official Take That musical, Greatest Days, follows five boyband obsessed teenagers from adolescence to adulthood, set to the bands famous discography.  

Our lead Rachel, played by Jennifer Ellison who gave a warm and believable performance throughout, opens the show giving a scene-setting monologue before we’re transported back to her teenage years. 

Young Rachel, endearingly played by Olivia Hallett, takes to the stage and tells us how she doesn’t just watch or listen to ‘the boyband’ but they’re right there with her, through thick and thin. And they are right there with her, on the stage, singing, dancing and undertaking stage transitions throughout. 

The introduction of the boyband, and their presence through the show is really well done. This is not a Take That tribute gig. The boyband, although continuously on the stage, allow both the young and current day cast to shine. They perfectly provide the soundtrack and impeccable choreography, only taking centre stage during the concert scenes.

We’re introduced to young Rachel’s unlikely group of friends; energetic Debbie (Mary Moore), sporty Claire (Mari McGinlay), nerdy Zoe (Hannah Brown) and boy-crazy Heather (Kitty Harris) and follow their journey through heartbreak and tragedy before being transported back to current day.

The current day cast, Jamie-Rose Monk as Claire, Karen Holmes as Zoe and Rachel Marwood as Heather, stole the show alongside Jennifer Ellison as Rachel, giving emotive and powerful performances across the board. Jamie-Rose Monk’s performance as Claire was particularly good, offering the comedic relief much needed in parts. 

Although a stripped back set, the staging and lighting design works. The concert scenes are perfectly lit and believable as a boyband gig, and the split level offers uncomplicated transition from present to past and vice versa. We often see both the young and current day cast on stage at the same time, giving a wistful feeling of nostalgia. 

Sadly my expectations for a feel-good celebration of friendship and nostalgia wasn’t quite realised. Whilst we were treated to a staggering 18 of Take That’s best loved hits and energetic choreography, the plot fell a little flat, not lingering long enough on any particular character trait, circumstance or event. 

All in all Greatest Days offers a hugely talented cast, a thoroughly feel-good finale and fantastic soundtrack. 

This show was reviewed on Tuesday 31 October and runs at Hull New Theatre until Saturday 4 November 2023.  Tickets available here: The Official Take That Musical: Greatest Days – Hull Theatres

Full touring details can be found here: Home - Greatest Days | The Take That Musical (greatestdaysmusical.com)
 

Review written by Mel Cooper

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Photo credit: Alastair Muir

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