This evening I’m at the Blackpool Opera House to see the official Take That musical – Greatest Days. The box office colleagues are so pleasant and very helpful at this theatre, going the extra mile to ensure we are happy, even changing our seats to make it more accessible for the person with me. The greeting from front of house and ushers were so welcoming and professional. I couldn’t have asked for more.
The Greatest Days began it’s life at The Band the musical but has been revisited and renamed with a new cast, a new set and a new lease of life. With the book written by Tim Firth and lyrics by Take That, we are transported on a journey of love, loss and a heap of nostalgia.
Five teenagers follow every move of the ‘Boys,’ the band they share a love for and their journey of winning a competition to see and meet them. But when circumstances get in their way, things don’t go to plan and eventually life changes forever. Shot forward 25 years, will the reunion be all they hoped? How have their lives changed and will they be able to cope with the blows the past have dealt them?
Kym Marsh leads the cast as Rachel , with the story being told through her and her memories before being brought to present day. Marsh’s real life daughter, Emilie Cunliffe, plays young Rachel to tell the story. The cast are made up of a huge talent of performers and it is a roller coaster of emotion.
The Band are made up of five extremely talented performers who provide a live soundtrack throughout the show, sometimes in the background like a memory or thought and others in full fledged concert style, accompanied by incredible lighting, costume and energetic choreography (by Aaron Renfree). The band tonight consisted of Kilifa Burton, Jamie Corner, Benjamin Cameron, Archie Durrant and Regan Gascoigne. The vocals from these five performers were stunning and evoked a lot of emotion.
The cast bring a huge amount of humour to the piece but one stand out for me is Alan Stock as Every Dave and the name means just that. Stock plays an array of characters from bus driver to security guard and everything in between and shines the whole time, injecting a mammoth amount of humour.
The rest of the young cast girls are made up of Mary Moore, Kitty Harris, Hannah Brown and Mari McGinlay and the rest of the present day girls are Rachel Marwood, Holly Ashton and Jamie-Rose Monk. If there was an entrance of a character that will stick with me, it would be that of Monk as present day Claire, I almost cried laughing. Each performer injected every ounce of emotion and energy in to telling this story and the audience fully appreciated it with a standing ovation by the end with dancing and clapping along. Not forgetting Claire’s long standing love, Jeff (Christopher D.Hunt), who played a fab part and was part of helping orchestrate probably the most beautiful yet emotional parts of the whole show.
The set was pretty simple and quite different from the last outing of the show but was used very well. It allowed the audience to use our imagination more and be transported from the rocks, to a gig and even a plane.
I found there were a few issues with sound this evening, especially in the first act and mainly when the Band were singing together, with levels a bit hit and miss, some performers sounding much louder than others and not blending as well as later in the show. Lighting was a huge part of the show and brought the set and the whole show together. Great design by Rob Casey.
The musicians, lead by Music Director Zach Flis, sounded incredible and was an integral part of a show filled with hits by Take That.
Greatest Days may feature the music of Take That but it is so much more than just the music. It has a beautiful story and a whole lot of soul. I left the theatre feeling all sorts of emotions but the main thing was a huge smile on my face and a great feeling of warmth.
Greatest Days is running at the Blackpool Opera House until Saturday 19th August with tickets available from https://www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk/events/greatest-days/
Reviewer: Damian Riverol
Reviewed: 15th August 2023
North West End UK Rating: