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Take That delight

PUBLISHED: 15:14 05 March 2008 | UPDATED: 17:16 16 August 2010

IF truth be told, I wasn t much looking forward to a Take That musical, writes Mark Campbell. However, I have never been more wrong.

IF truth be told, I wasn't much looking forward to a Take That musical, writes Mark Campbell.

However, I have never been more wrong.

Never Forget, which began its UK tour at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley, recently, was one of the most enjoyable musicals I've seen.

Okay, so it's not particularly original or thought provoking.

But with its Full Monty-inspired storyline featuring a gang of Mancunian misfits auditioning for a Take That tribute show, it has a rich vein of humour that allows it to gently mock the real life band members without actually being litigious.

It's a great cast.

Dean Chisnall is Ash, a fresh-faced Gary Barlow lookalike, while the towering Craige Els makes an unlikely Robbie Williams figure. However, Tim Driesen (as stolid banker Adrian Banks) is the spitting image of Mark Owen.

Backing them up is a dimwitted male stripper, Eaton James, and a cocky mother-fixated Spaniard, Stephane Anelli.

Both performances are scene-stealingly hilarious, and clearly a real hit with the female contingent in the audience.

Teddy Kempner's brash business manager is a delightful creation.

As his business rival Annie Borrowman (the clue's in the name), Crossroads actress Joanne Farrell is a bitchy temptress, never more so than when belting out Once You've Tasted Love in full dominatrix gear in what appears to be a modern-day Hellfire Club.

The strongest voice of the night belongs to Sophia Ragavelas as Chloe Turner, Ash's spurned fiancée: Love Ain't Here Anymore was really powerful stuff.

But it's the big hits that people have paid their money for, and these do not disappoint. Pray, It Only Takes a Minute and of course Relight My Fire are real showstoppers, all revisited in a fast and furious medley at the climax, complete with fireballs, strobe lights and cascading confetti.

Directed by Ed Curtis, with choreography by Karen Bruce and musical direction by Matt Smith, Never Forget is an appropriately memorable show that never takes itself too seriously.

And Act One's spectacular rainfall effects are worth the price of admission alone.


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