IMAGINE a play which makes you howl with laughter and bawl your eyes out pretty regularly and cross it with a spectacular top notch musical and a raucous pop concert featuring your favourite band of all time.

It would certainly equal one of the best nights out you've ever had.

That's pretty much how it felt to be in the audience for the world premiere of Take That musical The Band in the manband's hometown of Manchester last night.

An electric atmosphere met the cast of Tim Firth's epic new musical, which makes its way to Southampton in a month's time.

It tells the story of a group of teenage girl friends for whom the band means everything. We meet them 25 years on, learning their back story of love and loss to the soundtrack of Take That's brilliant back catalogue.

I loved every second of it. I'm the show's ideal audience of course, a teenage Thatter of the 90s now nearing my 40th birthday, but this beautiful story of friendship would appeal to any generation.

It is beautifully written, perfectly cast and the songs are the ideal fit for the script.

By the end, the entire audience, which included a host of soap stars, TV hosts, actors, media and family and friends of cast members, were on their feet waving their 'lighters', singing and dancing along.

As if The Band itself wasn't spectacular enough, we were treated to a finale slot from Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald, which included a special guest performance from Lulu for Relight My Fire.

Most of us had difficulty containing our excitement at this utterly brilliant spectacle, which I'm convinced will be a smash hit.

I can hardly wait to see it all over again in Southampton in a few weeks time.

Lorelei Reddin

The Band is at Mayflower Theatre from October 31 to November 11. Tickets: 023 8071 1811 or