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This musical concerns the adventures of a boyband called 'Freedom'. The story follows the band from when they first met. They sign a dodgy contract, which only gives them £100 per week for the first two years with no royalties until the 3rd album. The band also has to agree to a strict code of conduct, no sex, and no bad behaviour. The play tries to be fair to both parties. The manager has sold his house, putting his future on the line, so he is taking all the risks so isn't it fair to have a contract like this? However, can the band maintain their squeeky clean image? Will the band crack under their strenuous schedule?

"BOYBAND" is an average musical that is aimed primarily at a younger generation and possibly the gay market. The plot is a little disappointing with a predictable story line littered with cliché's of the musical industry. The idea is good, particularly to take advantage of the commercial success of boybands at the moment, but the writer has failed give the characters any real depth resulting in a contrived outcome. Anyhow, the show is still a lot of fun and the songs are especially good, particularly "Set Me Free", "We Got It All" and "Have Fun Go Mad".

The acting by the five group members leaves a lot to be desired, but their talent for singing is superb. Damien Flood (Sean), the lead singer has a very powerful and strong voice, but his acting is pretty dreadful! Stepps (Jay), is a competent singer and dancer, so too is Kevin Andrew (Adam). Also talented is Tom Ashton (Matt) who is the cute one, in my opinion anyway!! However, the best performance is from Daniel Crossley (Danny). He is the most convincing of the five when it comes to acting. There is also an impressive performance from Bryan Murray, as 'Wayland', the band's manager.

The show has received mixed responses from the popular press: THE DAILY MAIL says, "The songs are high quality anodyne pop, as good as anything you hear in the charts." THE INDEPENDENT says, "The plot is anorexic, and the stars are two-dimensional: so I predict, with the deepest depression, that this musical will go far. " THE DAILY EXPRESS says, "For all its earnest youth full athleticism, I'm afraid it's a gig with a limp." THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "Almost all musicals depend on the quality of the book and Peter Quilter's script is a disgrace." TIME OUT says, "Peter Quilter's book is pure pantomime, and audience responses range from surreal to excruciatingly funny." THE STAGE says, "Peter Rowe directs this noisy, simplistic but oddly engaging show with considerable panache."

If you like boybands, and the type of music they sing then get down to the Gielgud for some hot fun, otherwise stay well away.

(Darren Dalglish)

Originally published on

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