As far as jukebox musicals go, this is one of the best I’ve seen – and I’ve seen a few!
Without naming them, there are some which possess a string of excellent, well known songs, however the story seems forced – an awkward, cringey construct designed to fit around them. I’m pleased to report however, that was certainly not the case with ‘Greatest Days’ -The Official Take That Musical.
The plot, written by Tim Firth, is extremely strong and woven skilfully around such classic songs as ‘Shine,’ ‘Rule the World’ and ‘Never Forget’ – an anthemic Take That favourite, which sits right at the heart of the story.
The plot centres on a group of five teenage girls (Rachel, Heather, Zoe, Debbie and Claire) who bond over their shared love of a boyband.
However, a tragic event shatters their friendship and they drift apart. This all turns around however when Rachel (played wonderfully by Jennifer Ellison), wins a trip to Greece to ‘The Boys’ reunion tour and sees a chance to heal old wounds.
She reaches out to her old friends, and humour (and heartbreak) ensues when they meet up after 25 years. Yes, they’ve changed (some more dramatically than others!), and it’s clear that they have a lot to catch up on…
This is a beautiful and extremely touching musical with a lot of heart – moments which will leave you teary eyed and choking back emotion. However, this is balanced with plenty of colourful laugh out loud moments as we follow the cheeky antics of the friends in Greece. It’s a joy to watch them rediscover each other (and themselves), as they embark on a mission to reclaim their friendship – and their youth.
The joy is cemented through the songs of Take That – an impressive repertoire indeed (and the sight of five handsome men strutting their stuff on stage of course!)
Kalifa Burton, Jamie Corner, Archie Durrant, Regan Gascoigne and Alexanda O-Reillly bust out some seriously impressive moves as part of the (fictional) boyband who serve as the girl’s obsession in the play.
Take That’s catalogue involves a range of ballads and upbeat numbers, such as ‘Relight My Fire,’ and ‘Pray.’ This is where the band really get to show of their superb dance skills – gyrating and backflipping their way through several memorable and high octane routines.
However, they also hold their own as singers too, particularly the lead who sang an angelic version of ‘A Million Love Songs’ with pitch perfect precision.
Another beautiful and extremely poignant moment came towards the end of the show, and involved a rendition of Take That’s beloved ballad ‘Back For Good’. The adult cast members sang this with their younger selves and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
It’s something which seemed to resonate with many in the audience – women of a certain age looking back and singing to their lost youth.
However, for all its wonderful sentiment and nostalgia, ‘Greatest Days’ isn’t just one big sob fest – far from it. This show is fun, fun, fun and then some – a thoroughly enjoyable ride, which has energy, heart, highs, lows and everything in-between. It’s a fantastic feel-good musical – a crowd pleaser which is a credit to Take That and their impressive career.
Go and see it with the girls for a giggles and a good time – a fantastic feel-good musical which is guaranteed to make your heart shine!