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Review: The Band, The Orchard Theatre, Dartford

By Nikki White

What's the soundtrack to your life?

We all have one. Mine's rather eclectic - Wham and George Michael with a bit of Foo Fighters, dance and the odd bit of classical thrown in for good measure.

When certain songs come on the radio, they will conjure up fond memories of your history with friends and family.

And without even knowing it, Take That has been part of my soundtrack too, probably yours and certainly all of the audience at the Orchard.

Faye Christall as young Rachel (centre) with Five To Five as The Band in The Band. Picture Matt Crockett (7030330)
Faye Christall as young Rachel (centre) with Five To Five as The Band in The Band. Picture Matt Crockett (7030330)

Take That's The Band, written by the Olivier Award winning writer Tim Firth, whisks you back to 1993 and five girls devoted to a boy band.

After teenage promises to never be apart, life inevitably takes over and they drift out of each other's stories. Until 25 years later.

Winners of BBC's Let it Shine Five to Five provide the songs in storming fashion, joined by the girls as the grow into women. At times the music is simply a gentle backdrop to a scene, in others you are part of the gig.

From left: Jayne McKenna as Zoe, Rachel Lumberg as Rachel, Emily Joyce as Heather and Alison Fitzjohn as Claire, with Five To Five as The Band in The Band. Picture: Matt Crockett
From left: Jayne McKenna as Zoe, Rachel Lumberg as Rachel, Emily Joyce as Heather and Alison Fitzjohn as Claire, with Five To Five as The Band in The Band. Picture: Matt Crockett

The storyline has it all, and will have you laughing, crying, sharing their pain and their joy.

If you've ever felt that satisfaction of recording your favourite song off the radio on a cassette player and then learning not only all the lyrics but the dance moves too (c'mon, admit it, you know you did), this show is definitely for you.

And even if you haven't, it would be a tough cookie who came out feeling they hadn't had a decent time. I smiled from start to finish, and any show that can turn a plane into a giant glitterball gets my vote.

You'll be humming along to most of the songs, clapping to others and you'll be on you feet by the end. I promise.

The cast share the limelight but the person who strung it all together for me was Andy Williams as Dave, a man with many different roles in life from caretaker to bus driver to police officer.

The Band is on at the Orchard Theatre until Saturday, February 9. To book tickets (from £22.50), visit orchardtheatre.co.uk or call 01322 220000.

There is also a workshop on Saturday, February 9 at 10.30am.

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