Yesterday evening I was at the Savoy Theatre, London for the press night of Never Forget, the new musical which is largely based around the songs of Mancunian boy band Take That.
I say ‘new’… however, as a Mancunian, I was fortunate enough to hear about the creation of this musical production well in advance of the West End crowds. To set the context around the creation of this musical, as it appears to me, the idea of making a musical seemingly came shortly after the reformation of Take That and the huge Box Office success of their concerts. Take That themselves reportedly wanted absolutely nothing to do with the show, although in interviews since the show hit the stage, their former manager Nigel Martin Smith seems to be happy enough with the final result. I’d also heard that the production itself only went into the rehearsal stage a few weeks before the show opened on its Live Nation regional theatre tour in August 2007. With such fairly well documented rumours flying around with regards to the status of the show, naturally I was a little concerned as to what I’d see this evening.
However, I must say, this has been one of the best ‘jukebox’ musicals that I have seen to date – it was absolutely awesome. Slick, professional and left me hankering for more.
The storyline was somewhat typical for a musical of this genre; however it carried itself along nicely and still gave the actors a great opportunity to shine. I especially enjoyed how ‘northern’ this production felt and, in a city of tourists, I surprisingly managed to feel at home for two hours. Dare I say it, but I was even sniffling away quietly at the back of the theatre by the time they wheeled on the most adorable bunch of kids you ever saw ready for the show stopping finalé.
The set itself was magnificent. What they manage to do with the rain water is absolutely astounding and deserved all of the attention and whooping that the audience were readily directing towards it. The stage design is second to none, and I especially liked the positioning of the orchestra for this production.
Cast wise, this production benefits from a strong and able range of performers, and if you don’t go for the songs, you should certainly consider going for the abundance of muscles!
The strong reviews that this show has been getting since embarking on the regional Live Nation theatre tour of August 2007 and in the run up to its magnificent West End opening are a testament to how fabulous this musical is, especially given how easy it is to be cynical when faced with a jukebox musical of this type. I would be very surprised if this show didn’t get the rave West End reviews that it deserves! I can’t stop singing all of songs that I heard last night, and, dare I say it for fear of being shot down, I actually preferred some of the musical’s live orchestrated versions over the originals!
GO AND SEE THIS MUSICAL – I implore you! :oD