Putting The Band Back Together (3 stars)

Gig-cum-theatre with real compassion

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Putting the Band Back Together

Performers and devisers Maria Crocker, Alex Elliott and indie pop star Ross Millard are on a mission to get the nation dusting off old, unloved music. Inspired by the recent passing of friend and creative adviser Mark Lloyd – an enthusiastic musician – this is a poignant but joyful homage to the unifying power of music.

Although Millard experienced pop success as a member of the Futureheads, the script rescues pop from both the industry and the celebrity system. Making music for the sheer joy of making music is celebrated throughout the show. Backed by enthusiastic ex-players who sign up to rehearse and play alongside the trio (it's different for each performance), this show plays with the most ridiculous facets of rock star posturing, and has an almost punky DIY spirit.

So charismatic are the main trio's performances, it's sometimes hard to gauge if the bickering over bum notes and chord sequences is genuine or staged. Writer Chloe Daykin examines the effects of the twee, oft overlooked recorder, beloved of school kids everywhere, or the pomposity evoked by bass clarinets (cue a booming Brian Blessed voice by Elliott). The reasons people give for instruments taking a back seat to everyday life are explored, from general fear and complacency to having kids.

Even though the humour borders on silly, it's tempered by Millard's lovely songs, composed for the show. Like a perfect three-minute pop song, Putting the Band Back Together crackles with energy, passion and above all, heart. A teenage dream doesn't necessarily just belong to teenagers: just ask Dorothy on drums, channelling her inner Moe Tucker tonight.

Northern Stage at Summerhall, until 27 Aug (not 17, 24) 4.50pm, £12 (£10).

Putting the Band Back Together

  • 3 stars

A show about people's relationship with music. Featuring Ross Millard from The Futureheads, Maria Crocker from The Letter Room and Alex Elliot from Northern Stage.

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