(Left to Right) Five To Five: Curtis T Johns, Nick Carsberg, AJ Bentley, Yazdan Qafouri, Sario Solomon
We’ve met the lovely leading ladies behind the show, the genius that is director and choreographer Kim Gavin, so now we move on to the all important voices who bring all those familiar Take That songs we know and love to life!
AJ Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Qafouri and Sario Solomon collectively known as Five To Five and winners of BBC1’s Let It Shine play gave us a little background on just how it feels to be involved in such an exciting and hugely anticipated production.
(Opening Night) ON: From winning on Let It Shine to now must have been quite a ride, how has it been for you guys?
AJ: An absolute whirlwind would be one way to describe it, it’s been completly mad, from the start to where we are now. The rehearsals have been full on and we’re just so glad to be involved in such an incredible show, putting it in front of an audience has just been amazing.
Yazdan: It’s been a long time coming, we’ve been so excited. We’ve been doing workshops, doing some of our own stuff and then into rehearsals. Now, after months of toiling away behind the scenes, we’re finally bringing it to an audience.
Sario: We were literally itching to get on stage, the workshops were great and we learnt so much but they feel like so long ago now.
AJ: We learnt something new each day. With Take That being producers on the show they came in a lot and mentored us which has been absolutely invaluable.
ON: Have you adopted a member of Take That in terms of your character?
Curtis: No, not really, although in the show we play the band, we play ourselves the band Five To Five. All of the qualities of Take That as individuals and as a group we take on board and we feel that singing their songs is part of their legacy and we absolutely have to do it justice and make sure we give every song what it deserves. So, although we take the qualities, we’re not Take That and we’re not trying to imitate them.
ON: We imagine your Mums must have been Take That fans, are they extremely excited about this?
Sario: My Mum’s already seen it three times and we’ve only done three shows!
AJ: We grew up with that music because our parents were fans, now we’re working with Take That, we’re singing their music in their musical, that’s beyond our wildest dreams and I think even what our parents dreamt for us!
ON: Do your Mums want to be roadies?
Nick: Yes! They’re really proud of us, I think for them it must be surreal to watch your child go off and do something so incredible.
ON: Thinking back to the night it was announced on BBC’s Let It Shine that you’d been chosen to be ‘The Band’, what were your initial feelings?
AJ: It was crazy, we’ve all watched talent shows and thought I want that to happen to me then when it does it’s literally indescribable, beyond our wildest dreams.
ON: We absolutely loved the way so many Take That songs are so brilliantly used in the story, we especially loved The Flood. You got a mid-performance standing ovation from some audience members during the song, how does that feel?
Sario: It’s great that we get to deliver the songs differently, with our different voices. People are so used to hearing Take That singing these songs and they sing them so well but hearing different voices offers a different experience. Knowing we have Take That’s stamp of approval makes it even more special.
ON: We’ve seen some tweets off Take That wishing you good luck, have they given you any advice?
Sario: “Don’t mess it up!”
Yazdan: Their mentoring has been invaluable, sharing the stage with them tonight was amazing.
(Take That surprised the boys AND the audience by joining them onstage for a special encore)
Just being in their company we’ve learnt so much.
Sario: The one thing they alway say is just enjoy it, go out there and just enjoy every minute of it. This is such a precious gift we have, to be able to perform to such amazing audiences every night is incredible, we just want to enjoy this unbelievable experience.
Curtis: It’s a cliche but we are ‘living the dream’.
ON: This tour is just starting, but afterwards will Five To Five continue?
AJ: Yes, absolutely. We’ve signed a three year management deal so obviously this is currently our priority but things will be bubbling away under the surface. We will be working with Take That and our management on new material which we’re all very excited about.
ON: Curtis, will you be writing the new material?
Curtis: I think we’ll all be writing the songs, it all feels very exciting, like we’re at the start of a long journey for us as Five To Five. This really is just the start!
The Band runs at Manchester’s Opera House until 30th September 2017 before starting a UK tour.
For tickets and further information head to http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-band/opera-house-manchester/