Saturday, September 30

Greatest Days – Sheffield Lyceum

A pure Band of 24k gold!

Originally under the title of The Band, the musical changed its name to The Official Take That Musical Greatest Days and relaunched a new tour. But why? It would seem people were expecting to see a show about the band itself and the musical is certainly not that. With a book written by Tim Firth and the music and lyrics by Take That, it tells the tell of a group of five young fans in the 90’s who live their lives to the soundtrack of their favourite band. Their lives can be seen to mirror that of the bands as together they live, laugh and suffer loss, eventually going their own ways. 25 Years later, like their idols, they too reunite and go on their own reunion tour of re discovery. Greatest Days is a story of friendship, dreams, growth and survival with a familiarity and tenderness only rarely achieved in theatre. It is unexpectedly so much more than just a jukebox musical – it has the accessibility, warmth and potential to become a mainstay of musical theatre.

The set and costume designer Lucy Osbourne create a set that is chameleon in nature, transforming to rocks, Athens, airports, concert stage sets and even a police station. Consisting of a lofty gantry with doors under that are used as the main entrance/exits to all the location, the set also includes two sets of 3 sectional steps that are manoeuvred to great effect throughout the production. The 5 piece ‘boy’ band themselves are responsible for all the set manipulation and do it with effortless ease whilst providing the vocal backdrop to the show. Kalifa Burton, Jamie Corner, Archie Durrant, Regan Gascoigne and Alexanda O’Reilly are strong in the boyband role and choreography by Aaron Renfree adds to the believability. With 18 Take That hits performed by the band and the cast, they propel the story line at a great pace. The story is witty, funny and full of pathos. As times and circumstances changes the show highlights the importance of friendships, of dreams and of music in all our lives. 

The cast without exception were stellar. The 16-year-old girls in the 90’s played by Hannah Brown as young Zoe, Emilie Cunliffe as young Rachel, Kitty Harris as young Heather, Mari McGinlay as Young Claire and the Mary Moore with her outstanding vocals as Debbie. All five of the stereotypical girls gives you a warm, familiar feeling in their performances. Each girl has a predominant clothing colour which cleverly helps us identify who they become as we pick up their story 25 years later. Holly Ashton becomes the older Zoe, Rachel Marwood is Heather, Firth’s hilariously written character of Claire is played to perfection by Jamie-Rose Monk. The show’s star casting of Kym marsh playing the older Rachel is no let down, and with her own daughter as her younger self, the show has a natural affinity. The cast is completed by Christopher D. Hunt as Jeff and the ever so funny Alan Stocks as Every Dave.

The Greatest Days is performing at the Sheffield Lyceum Theatre from Monday 12th – Saturday 17th June 2023 – don’t miss it! Whether you are a Take That fan or not – this story will resonant with everyone – the dreams we had, the reality of life’s tendency to get in the way and then the acceptance of a changed perception and finally a realisation of achievement. The show is light hearted and easy to watch, it is slick and entertaining and like the best things in life… doesn’t last long enough! I was invested and smiled from the very first scene to the final crowd-pleasing medley. A ‘Shine’ of a show that will ‘Relight your Fire!’ 

Playing until 17th June,

Reviewer: Tracey Bell

Reviewed: 12th June 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.