Theatre Review: The Band - Kings Theatre, Glasgow ✭✭✭✭✭

The world of theatre is not short of jukebox musicals, so adding another to the ranks is a risky game if not executed well. Fortunately, 'The Band' manages to stand head and shoulders above the competition. The promotion material for the show gives nothing away. 5 seemingly meaningless, multi-colored wristbands sit front and centre of a bright yellow backdrop and you could be forgiven for assuming this is the story of Take That themselves. The reality is that Tim Firth's heartwarming, coming of age tale, follows 5 girls, all different in nature but with one common love for a music group known only as 'The Band'. As teenagers, the girls struggle with balancing their parents' expectations of them with their personal ambitions but are a constant for one another, talking about their dreams and making plans for the future. When a last-minute trip to see their favourite boys in concert ends in tragedy, the 16-year-old girls become women whose paths haven't lead quite where any of them expected.

With so many characters it would be easy for some to fade into the background, but this is not the case here. The right amount of time is spent on each character's backstory and all five are genuinely likable but flawed. Chances are you will see yourself (and many people you know) in these witty, spirited women.  Rachel Lumberg gives a standout performance as insecure hopeless romantic Rachel, whose only ambition in life is to marry a gorgeous man. Lumberg's performance as the heart of the group is sincerely touching and emotive.

The set is one of the most impressive I've seen regionally. The slick design allows scenes to flow, seamlessly segueing from hometown haunts, to an airport, to a concert venue when the band performs.

The score consists of numerous hits from Take That's back catalogue, with many of them performed in new and original styles. Rather than shoehorning as many numbers in as possible, the show's creators cleverly chose songs that encompassed the themes and emotions of any given scene.

Managing to be both a love letter to the fans while winning over new ones, this joyous production has heart, soul and a massive dose of 90's nostalgia.