Never Forget (Tour - Liverpool)
Set in a pub which is about to be repossessed, Never Forget, written by Danny Brocklehurst, Guy Jones, and Ed Curtis, who also directs, tells the story of Ash (Mark Willshire) who joins a Take That tribute band as Gary Barlow with other lads who are also down in their luck. Jose Reize (Ben Harris), as Jason Orange, is a Spaniard who wants to make it big so he doesn’t disappoint his mother; Dirty Harry (played by Rory Locke in this performance) - aka Howard Donald - is an ex stripper, who wants to make a career out of his dancing in a non-seedy way. Adrian (Tom Bradley), as Mark Owen, is a banker who’s in an unhappy marriage, and Jake (Paul-Michael Jones), as Robbie Williams, has money problems.
The lads enter a competition in the hope of winning £10,000 to ease their problems and to propel them to superstardom. There are some tough decisions along the way for certain characters to make.
The staging of the show is simple, yet effective. The scene changes are slick and help keep the pace of the show steady. One scene in particular where rain is used on the stage is extremely visual, however it does little to move the actual story forwards.
Karen Bruce’s choreography is something to behold and is somewhat of a highlight. The dancers must be congratulated because they put in so much effort throughout the entire show, and it keeps the production from becoming boring.
The boys who play the lead roles are on the whole very charming. Their voices are strong and clear. Particular kudos must go to Paul-Michael Jones who was understudying the role of Jake. A mention is also worthy of Aimie Atkinson as Chloe who sang ‘Love Ain’t Here Anymore’ exceptionally well.
On the whole, the acting was decent, but there is a lack of plot. The story is quite weak, and the characterisation is even weaker. The ending is extremely contrived and everything is tied up nicely in a neat little bun. It has a slight air of panto about it and turns it into a bit of a farce.
The ending, however, left the audience with what they wanted – Take That songs and some dancing! But if this was all the audience wanted to see, the new Take That concert DVD will save people a few quid.
Photograph by Paul Coltas