Category: theatre

The Band Musical – A Review

It’s very rare that I go to see a theatre show having no real idea what it’s about. And it’s even more rare for me to go and see a show, if I’m totally honest, that I actually wasn’t too bothered about seeing. I’d seen a musical based on Take That songs (a musical I love by the way!) and wasn’t in a big rush to see another one. 

And usually I’ve heard all about what a show is about or already seen it 3 times (Wicked and Billy Elliot I’m looking at you guys!) but when Cardiff Mummy Says invited me to go with her to see The Band Musical I went along having no idea of the story. 

I mean I knew about the music, it’s all Take That songs, and that the guys playing “The Band” were cast from a talent show, but I’d only seen about 10 minutes of the whole series, so apart from that my knowledge of the storyline was non existent. 

The story starts by following 5 school friends, it’s 1992 and they’re 16. Their love for The Band is all consuming, and we watch their joy and promises they make each other for their future. All this dotted with the classic Take That songs, making for a bubbly, lively and thoroughly enjoyable start. 

Tonight’s performance did experience some technical difficulties (though we’re not exactly sure what they were) which meant that the first half was stopped about half an hour in, and paused for 5 minutes, but it didn’t seem to interrupt the flow or the energy of the show. 

The young cast were absolutely spectacular. Their acting just blew me away, being able to confidently hold an audience the way they did, they could have easily carried the entire show without an issue. Watching as the characters came from their first concert, making plans for their lives and making promises to each other gave me flashbacks to my own childhood, and I could have spent the evening watching them record Top of the Pops and making up dance routines. But of course the story continues. 

I’m not going to give away too much about the storyline, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone going, but the story does then see the “girls” 25 years later. Did their lives go as they’d planned as teenagers? Spoilers ;) 

I was surprised as to how the “Band” were incorporated into the story, more of background singers than the main show. It was very different, but I thought it worked great. It made for some very funny moments, and also meant that some of the famous Take That costumes and dance moves could be incorporated. It’s very difficult to properly explain their role (I guess you’ll just have to go see it if you really want to know!)

I did find that the sound could be a bit unbalanced between the cast and the band, both the musical band and the singers. A lot of the songs were punctuated by dialogue and sometimes this was lost as the songs and music were a touch too loud. 

The lighting certainly gave the “rock concert” effect. Plenty of moving lights, dramatic changes and blinding flashes. 

The adult cast were equally superb. The strong female characters were portrayed brilliantly, and the sense of historical friendship could really be felt. 

More of Take That’s modern songs were incorporated, really bringing home how many people have literally grown up and loved the band through most of their lives.

I honestly believe that an audience can tell if the cast are genuinely enjoying themselves, and it gives a show an extra edge. This show certainly had that! 

This evening I’ve laughed loudly, sobbed loudly, sang loudly and danced wildly. 

It was a perfect night out to spend with partners, girlfriends, boyfriends or family! Basically anyone could go and see this, and I really think you’d have a fantastic time! 

You may also have heard that 3 special guests turned up at the very end. Opening night of the new tour, and Garry, Howard and Mark made a special appearance and performance. Of course this made tonight’s trip extra special (not as special as if there’s been a chance for a selfie, but you can’t have everything!) but honestly, I’d have come away feeling as good as I did if the show had finished as it usually would. Take That showing up was pretty special, but the show holds its own as a truly fantastic night out. 
If you want to get a taste for the show, and a guest appearance from Take That, head over to The Herniman House Facebook page, where you’ll find a live video of the performance! I will warn you though, the filming is VERY shaky! I’d sobbed and cheered until I was no longer able to hold a camera steady haha!! 

The Band is showing in Cardiff at the Wales Millennium Centre from 9th-20th of January, and it’s exactly what you need to blow away the January blues. 

Mrs H xxx

Disclaimer – I was given a ticket in exchange for a review of the show. All thought and opinions are honest and my own 

 Legally Blonde at the New Theatre Cardiff

This week myself and Mr H went to see the touring production of Legally Blonde, at the New Theatre in Cardiff.

Ohmigod You Guys! – the opening of Legally Blond the Musical Tour
I’ve mentioned before that theatre is a big part of our lives, so when a friend of ours was coming to Cardiff whilst working on this tour, we jumped at the chance (and the discount!) to go and see one of our favourite musicals and treat ourselves to a date night together. It’s not often that we get to see shows together where Mr H isn’t working on it!

Bringing this classic 00’s Reese Witherspoon film to the stage with the added bonus of feel good songs and fantastic dance routines. The cast really impressed, with bundles of energy from the opening number until the very end. 

Legally Blonde is the well-known story of sorority president Elle Woods (Lucie Jones), as she follows her heart and ex boyfriend Warner (Liam Doyle) to Harvard Law School. 

Whilst there she meets the slightly scruffy bit utterly adorable Emmett Forest (David Barrett) and learns much more about law and herself than she ever bargained for. 

Taking on an internship from the intense and severe professor (Bill Ward) they defend fitness queen Brooke Wyndham (Helen Petrovna) in a murder trial. 

Lucie Jones as Elle Woods – Legally Blonde the Musical Tour
“Local girl” Lucie Jones, from Pentyrch in Cardiff, really showed off her wide vocal range in the leading role of Elle Woods. 

Having been on X Factor and represented the UK in this year’s Eurovision her singing was never in doubt, but her acting also excelled. We’d seen this when it was on the West End with the wonderful Sheridan Smith fulfilling the lead role, I was apprehensive to how Lucie would compare, but she really made the part her own and aced it.

Bill Ward as Professor Callahan – Legally Blonde the Musical Tour
Bill Ward, of Coronation Street fame, was frustratingly brilliant as nasty Professor Callahan. He was fired up and patronising as only a lawyer full of himself could be. The “boos” he received from the audience at the end were just an accolade of what a horrible character he portrayed. 

Rita Simmons aka Paulette Bonafonte – Legally Blonde the Musical Tour
I have to say though, that Rita Simmons really stood out for us. You’ll most likely recognise Rita from her time as Roxy Mitchell in Eastenders, but I bet you never realised what a fabulous voice she has. 

The part of Paulette is very funny and loving at the same time, it would be so easy to over egg it and turn it pantomimic, but Rita played every line perfectly. Her acting and comedic timing were impeccable and her voice absolutely blew us and the rest of the audience away. Rita really belted out her numbers, but with great control, and every note was hit perfectly.

Paulette and Kyle, and most importantly Rufus the dog! – Legally Blonde the Musical Tour
Paulette’s developing relationship with delivery guy Kyle (Ben Harlow) was simultaneously heart warming and hysterical. And yes, her “bend and snap” was perfectly on point! 

Oh and Rufus, Paulette’s dog, was just the cutest thing! I really wanted to bring him home, and was so excited when I happened to meet the “star” outside the theatre! 

One of the many fantastic dance numbers – Legally Blonde the Musical Tour
The set design was great, but a little mismatched between realistic and a bit cartoony in places. But the way it all moved and came together was brilliant, really impressive. Especially when we found out that not all the set could be used as it was too big for this stage. 

The many costumes were brilliant. Perfectly suited to each character, with plenty of glitz and glamour. Details such as Emmett’s “ratty corduroy” suit being oversized, more than likely a second hand one all he could afford, really helped bring even more life to the characters.

And the pink graduation gowns for the finale were gloriously over the top and really made the ending sparkle.

The show finishes with a reprise of quite a few of the songs. It adds on another 10 mintutes to what is already quite a long show, but it really gets the audience up on their feet and literally dancing in the aisles. 

Mr H felt it was too long and not really needed, but loved it, though the clapping all the way through did leave me with very sore hands haha!!

Elle and Paulette, daydreaming about Ireland – Legally Blonde the Musical Tour
You’ve only got until Saturday to catch this fantastic production in Cardiff, before it moves onto Edinburgh and then many more places across the Uk and Ireland in the new year! Take a look here to find out if it’s visiting a town near you.

You Gotta Be Legally Blonde – Legally Blonde the Musical Tour
It’s a proper feel good show, very well directed with some absolutely brilliant performances. The perfect show for a night out with friends or family, and will leave you bubbling with happiness and singing along for a long while after!

Mrs H xxx

*disclaimer – we received a discount from a friend to buy the tickets, but we did pay for them and I was not asked to write a review.