Audience stunned as Take That take the stage in Southampton!

The company
The company

REVIEW: The Band, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, until November 11.

OMG! Just how much icing can one cake take? Rather a lot, it seems.

The Band is a genuinely-beautiful tale of love and loss, growing up and grief, all set against the music of Take That – a show that leaves you on a fantastic high as you prepare to leave.

Except it wasn’t over until it was over on an exhilarating night in Southampton. Onto the stage strolled Take That themselves for an extended encore.

First Mark Owen and then Gary Barlow and Howard Donald ambled on – and the crowd went bonkers on an evening to savour for years to come.

You had to be there. The atmosphere was electric as the trio crowned the most fantastic feel-fabulous night at the theatre you’ll ever have.

First the show though, and it’s a cracker – a superbly done wallow in our collective pasts, the kind of show which might yet give sentimentality a good name, a lovely hark back to the days when you idolised a band, when they invaded every aspect of your life (even coming out of the wardrobe in this case) – a time when it felt that every word they wrote was written especially for you.

The opening focuses on a group of girls, nicely differentiated, each heading in different directions with different ambitions, but tied tightly together by their love of The Band… until tragedy strikes.

We then meet them 25 years later, divided, still struggling with what has happened, grief unresolved… until one of them stage-manages a reunion which shows that dreams might yet come true.

Along the way, the show’s very own boy band interleaves the songs of Take That. It’s a beautiful piece, rich, elegiac and deeply poignant… and it would have been enough for a fine night at the theatre.

But then…. there they were, the trio behind the show and behind the songs. And even those of us who probably weren’t quite the target audience couldn’t help but feel the magic.

The Band, the show and the special guests were simply irresistible. Take that, Southampton!

Phil Hewitt