THEATRE REVIEW: The Band – Marlowe Theatre  

O..M..G.. after all the television coverage of the selection process with BBC One’s ‘Let It Shine’ to find the five members of a band to appear in a live show featuring the songs of Take That, I was not expecting to see what I saw at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury. What we heard was what was expected; a veritable treat of melodies, harmonies and hit singles expertly performed by the new group ‘Five to Five’, which spirited me back to my younger days and where the whole auditorium were on their feet joining in.

The surprise in what we saw were the performances by the other artists in the form of five ‘teenage’ girls (Faye Christall, Katy Clayton, Rachelle Diedericks, Sarah Kate Howarth and Lauren Jacobs) and the ‘forty something’ older versions (Rachel Lumberg, Alison Fitzjohn, Emily Joyce and Jayne McKenna). Right from the beginning the energy and vitality of the teenagers was contagious… the audience heartily laughed… often, and cried… a bit (at least I did!). The storyline featured the friendship of the five girls, and how being a part of group that had a common purpose in life helped them through difficult and emotional times was very well written. There would have been poignant moments for each and every one in the auditorium, as we all heard the excellent delivery by these young artists.

Fast forward 25 years, and the choice of artist to play each specific character, who is now decidedly older and wiser, was clearly not by accident. I believe the choices would mean the story line was enhanced by the showmanship of the ‘forty somethings’ and the way they engaged with the audience as their lives and the last 25 years’ toll unfolded before us. The best line in the show for me was when the question was asked to the forty-somethings as to when they would ‘stop behaving like 18-year olds’, as the group had misbehaved on (and in) a water fountain in Prague; the response must invariably be ‘… Never, and why should we?’. The burst of rekindled youth, as this show will attest, is to be repeated, as often as possible, please!

Review by Alison Westbrook (Photograph: Matt Crockett/PA)