FIVE to Five and the rest of the cast of The Band have just closed the red carpet premiere of the new musical with a spectacular finale alongside Take That and Lulu.

It's a dream come true for five lads who, until they auditioned for BBC search for stars Let It Shine, were completely unknown.

Having won a national TV talent show to star in a new musical, which is being produced by a team that includes members of one of the most successful boy bands of all time, high spirits among the boys are understandable.

“It does feel a bit surreal, especially when Gary messages us,” says AJ Bentley, whose mum, a big Take That fan, told him about the TV search. “Just being in a working environment with Take That is incredible. I’ve looked up to them my whole life and to be mentored by them is mind-blowing.”

Using Take That songs, Tim Firth’s story will almost certainly chime with anyone who grew up being a fan of a band or artist. Charting the journey of five 16 year-old friends for whom, in 1992, the band is everything; 25 years on, the women set out once again to fulfil their dream of meeting their heroes.

Directed by Kim Gavin and Jack Ryder, Yazdan (Yaz) Qafouri is quick to point out that almost everyone will identify with the story.

“You’ll relate to it because you’ll come and see yourself. I hope people will go home and hold their loved ones a bit tighter and reconnect with people they haven’t seen for a while, but I think ultimately they will be uplifted. It still really hits me when we get to the end of the show, and that first impact on audiences will be really special.

“It will be my birthday when we are at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, so that will be a special week for me,” he adds.

The world premiere, which the Daily Echo attended, was a special night for all the cast, including Rachelle Diedericks as Debbie who performed an incredible solo featuring all the top notes from Relight My Fire in front of Lulu, who originally sang the part. She said: "It has been incredible, just a dream come true. We'll treasure this forever. We've had the time of our lives, although I did think I was going to throw up before going on stage tonight I was so nervous!"

Jayne McKenna,who plays Zoe, was thrilled with the opening night proper of the show. Speaking at the after show party in a Manchester hotel she said: "It's a gift. It's just extraordinary. Take That have been incredible supporters of us all and we're just overwhelmed by them.

"I've always loved their music and I've now got three little boys loving their music too.

"Which other show do you get a play, and Tim Firth's writing is just extraordinary, a musical and a rock concert. To be honest, I wish I could be in the audience!"

The Band is at Mayflower Theatre from Tuesday until Saturday November 11.

Tickets: 023 8071 1811 or