Greatest Days: The Official Take That Musical is currently performing at Edinburgh Playhouse, whilst on its UK tour. A remake of their 2017 show, The Band, this jukebox musical is hitting theatres with a brand-new name and new momentum, following the release of the film version in June.
The show is focussed on the boy band obsession of five 1990s Northern teenage girls, with their love for ‘the band’ shaping their friendships. 25 years after originally winning tickets to their concert, more tickets are won and the girls are reunited after losing contact. A lot has changed in their lives, but their passion for the band, and their friendship, bring them back together.
Led by Jennifer Ellison as Rachel, this show has a talented cast of teenage and older versions of the same characters, providing a moving story. Mary Moore, as Debbie, is particularly engaging during her short time on stage, captivating the audience and leading the energy on stage. Jamie-Rose Monk, as Claire, also provides an entertaining and strong performance. The staging is clever, with the limited set providing a useful piece for touring this show, whilst able to set many scenes very quickly. The Take That music is a hit with those attending.
Although this show provides a much stronger story than expected, it has its flaws and lacks energy at times. The Band are presented as nameless bodies, with little opportunity to present their personalities, and their time on stage largely gets in the way of the moving storyline. The bands are strongest whilst providing a gentle backing to the girls on stage, but are often overpowering, making it difficult to hear what’s being said or sung.
The balance of the music felt off at many points throughout the show, and the songs did not feel like they enabled the performers to show off their vocal talents. The concert lighting feels too much for a theatre, with frequent lights in the audience blinding those in the stalls. Additionally problematic were the fat jokes, which didn’t feel fitting or appropriate for 2023.
The relationships between the girls and their boy band obsession are really what provides strength to this show, are heartfelt and are likely to lead to audience members reminiscing. For hardcore Take That fans, this show will provide a very pleasant night out. For musical theatre fans, it’s unlikely to ‘Shine’.
Greatest Days runs at Edinburgh Playhouse until the 2nd of September. Book tickets here: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/greatest-days/edinburgh-playhouse/