Greatest Days (The Official Take That Musical) – Review – Bradford Alhambra

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By Christine Goode, September 2023

“Do you think they will get us up dancing at the end?” this reviewer overheard an excited lady saying to her friends at the front of house. There’s no need to elaborate on the enormity of the ‘mighty’ Take That; they have been a staple in our lives since 1991. To date, they have had 139 commercially released studio songs and a mere 497 concerts, along with countless music videos. “Pray” springs to mind first—we all know who they are!

When the news broke that Greatest Days was coming to The Bradford Alhambra Theatre, this reviewer was there with bells on. If someone is fortunate enough to have attended a live concert by Take That, then they know a fabulous night awaits. A blend of die-hard Take That fans and avid musical theatre lovers eagerly await; the atmosphere is already electric as the audience takes their seats. The stage is inviting, with a full washing line gently blowing in the wind, and a radio playing in the background where a cheesy DJ introduces the best hits of the decade.

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Set in the 1990s, the story introduces five school friends living their best lives at 16. They share a singular goal in life: to meet, and for some, to marry members of The Band. The audience follows these women through the next 25 years, which echo the trials and tribulations of daily life for many. It comes as no surprise that the rollercoaster of emotions is perfectly portrayed by a talented and polished cast. Along with over 18 hit songs, inlcuding ‘A Million Love Songs’, “‘Pray’, ‘These Days’, ‘Never Forget’, and ‘Back For Good’ – it’s a brilliant combination.

Lead character Rachel, played by Jennifer Ellison, is highly relatable as she narrates the story alongside her best friends: Debbie (Mary Moore), Heather (Charlotte Anne Steen), Claire (Karen Holmes), and Zoe (Holly Ashton). Tonight’s performance features four understudies taking lead roles, each displaying their skills adeptly. The chemistry between them proves that true friendship never dies, regardless of time apart. The Band themselves are fantastic; their high-energy choreography is right en pointe. The vocals are superb, and the dance technique is phenomenal, making the audience feel as if they are actually at a Take That concert. Archie Durrant’s dance skills are notably sharp.

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Set design by Lucy Osborne is understated yet effective. With minimal props and ample imagination, the setting shifts from the suburbs of Manchester to a Greek fountain in Athens. Rob Casey’s lighting design shines as it follows the women hanging out on dark Manchester nights to stadium tours, making the audience feel part of the concert experience.

This is undoubtedly a feel-good show. With a twist in the plot that prompts reflection on life and friendships, it serves as a nostalgic reminder of simpler times in the 1990s. The audience is completely engrossed by the characters, the music, and the choreography—it’s the complete package. By the third song, everyone is clapping and singing along. So, to answer the initial question—yes, it will have you dancing at the end!

‘Greatest Days’ is at Bradford Alhambra until 23rd September 2023


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