Greatest Days review – Take That musical offers blast of feelgood reunion excitement

A jukebox musical featuring the works of Take That might not ever be one for the cool kids; undoubtedly this is a bit broad, but it’s a splurge of feelgood from director Coky Giedroyc and screenwriter Tim Firth, adapting his own stage show, and it’s at least as enjoyable as the much-hyped Mamma Mia! movies.

Aisling Bea gives it loads as Rachel, a hardworking NHS nurse who in her teen years was a massive Take That stan (as no one used to say in 1993) along with her four best mates from school. She is astonished one day to be phoned up by the local radio station and told she’s won a luxury all-inclusive deal for her and some guests to fly to Athens and see Take That on a reunion tour. This brings Rachel to a state of orgasmic excitement combined with a nervous breakdown as she realises she must round up the now middle-aged women she hasn’t seen for 25 years and they’ll all have to measure the joys and bittersweet disappointments of their lives against a Take That soundtrack. And she has to confront a painful memory connected to the last time they saw the band live in Manchester.

There are laughs here: young Rachel turns on the TV in the 90s to see something on Ceefax about Britain’s bright future in the EU, the girls talk about how Take That’s “beach” video for Pray looks weirdly like a version of Lord of the Flies, and they bunk off school to see their mate take part in a high-diving competition holding up a massive inspirational banner in the spectators’ gallery, reading: “DON’T F*CK IT UP”. And we get a witty jump cut from the shot of Rachel’s boyfriend’s beaming face when he thinks that her “big news” is that she wants to get married, to his later face, realising this is about a Take That reunion concert, to which he is not in fact invited.

• Greatest Days screens in a one-night premiere on 15 June in UK and Irish cinemas, and goes on general release on 16 June.