Greatest Days Review by Nina Jervis

June 21, 2023

Thanks to Nina Jervis from for this review.

“Please can you help me? My heart is broken and I don’t know what to do…”

The year was 1996. Take That had just split up, and I was working on reception at a local radio station when I received this call from a distraught fan. “Umm, well you’ve still got their music,” I spluttered awkwardly. “No-one can take that away from you”.

Later, dedicated phone lines were set up to help people deal with the loss of their favourite boyband, and the NHS treated its first patient with a celebrity addiction – to Mark Owen.

Yep. Take That were HUGE.

I wasn’t a fan myself, but you couldn’t escape their impact back in the day. So I was looking forward to the warm rush of nostalgia that would surely flow from Greatest Days, the official Take That Musical. I’d even roped in Vickie, my best friend from childhood, to come along with me.

Right from the off, the show had an endearing feel of a ‘school play’ for grown-ups, with its quirky movable set visibly operated by The Band members: this may be an official Take That Musical, but Take That are never actually named. They are The Band, or The Boys, instead – even though they only sing Take That songs.

Does that matter? I do think there might have been more of a connection for genuine fans, but in essence the show isn’t about Take That (or The Band) at all. It’s about friendship, lost youth, and moving on with life even when things don’t go to plan.

The performances are all real and distinctive, with two sets of actors playing each character: young and middle-aged. The lead character of Rachel is played by Kym Marsh and her real-life daughter Emilie Cunliffe, both of whom are gloriously down-to-Earth and instantly likeable.

Young Rachel is a rabid fan of The Band, and her lively friend Debbie (a show-stopping turn from Mary Moore) has just won a competition to see them in concert. Their three other close friends come along: feisty would-be fashion-designer Heather, aspiring Olympian Claire, and quiet, bookish Zoe.

Sadly, an unexpected tragedy following the gig means the friends lose touch as they grow older. Years later, Rachel wins another competition to see The Band – this time in Athens – which she uses as an opportunity to reconnect with her old friends.

The story is peppered with Take That songs throughout, well-performed by The Band members as a type of Greek chorus. This adds cheeky elements of fun and heaps of the aforementioned nostalgia: as a teenager in the 90s I couldn’t help but reminisce about where I was and how I felt when these songs were in the charts.

(Vickie and I squeezed each-other’s hands in recognition more than a few times throughout the show: sometimes because of old cultural references like Smash Hits and taping songs off the radio, and sometimes because a moving moment of friendship had reminded us of our own).

There are plenty of laughs, too. Alan Stocks is fabulous as ‘Every Dave’; a myriad of background characters who add sparks of humour throughout. Christopher D. Hunt is charming as Rachel’s partner ‘Maximum’ Jeff, and the banter between the girls – who really do share an unbreakable bond – is realistic and warm. Jamie-Rose Monk, who plays adult Claire, got the biggest cheer of the night for her charismatic-yet-vulnerable performance.

Come the finale, there was a sense that the entire audience was itching to get up on its feet and sing along… and as soon as we were told we could, we did! A rousing chorus of ‘Never Forget’ later, we spilled out of the theatre feeling happy and uplifted.


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