Less than 18 months since it premiered in Manchester The Band is back, still fizzing with enough wit, energy and imagination to fully satisfy its audience.
Much more than a jukebox musical, or a tribute act dedicated to the songs of Take That, with which it’s neatly infused, it’s a carefully-crafted drama with songs, more in the style of Mamma Mia!
The strength of women in adversity; stoic friendship; and dealing with loss, give the show a dramatic force that sends its well clear of other shows simply wrapped around nostalgic songbooks.
The Band is more about the bond between a handful of schoolgirls obsessed with a 1990s boy band, than the actual line-up they lust after.
The objects of their affection haunt their everyday lives, which gives Jon Bausor’s amazing stage design more openings than an advent calendar.
This is a rock concert construction of stunning digital backdrops and myriad other effects, with an airliner take-off that takes the first act, and the breath, away...
Of course it did the show’s pre-publicity no harm at all that its five pop performers were ‘discovered’ via a TV talent hunt, but in all fairness they become little more than cyphers to the story.
It’s the girls, two ensembles of strong performers, representing their ages 25 years apart, that deservedly get the spotlight.
The Band flies high here until January 26.
Pier 8, The Quays, Salford
Runs: Wed 16 January - Sat 26 January