PLENTY of tears will be spilled over The Band, not least by any Take That fan too late to snap up tickets for this spring’s hottest musical ticket in Leeds.

Composer Gary Barlow and playwright Tim Firth have struck gold already with The Girls, premiered at the Grand in December 2015 before a West End transfer, and a new tour, now with “Calendar” restored to that title, will visit the Leeds theatre from August 15 to September 1.

Firth also had done the book for the Madness musical Our House, and those with longer memories will recall his early Scarborough successes, A Man Of Letters: A Comedy On The Edge Of A Building and Neville’s Island, both in 1992 after Alan Ayckbourn spotted his nascent talent.

Both those plays had a male focus, each with men on the verge of snapping, losing it. The Girls put women under pressure, responding to a collective need in the face of a tragedy, and like Ayckbourn before him (and still today, arguably more than ever in Sir Alan’s latter-day plays), Firth writes wonderfully fulfilling roles for women, full of humour, honesty and heart.

Tragedy strikes in The Band too, but it would be wrong to give too much away, except to say that Take That’s portfolio of boy band and re-formed adult boy band songs wholly suits the heightened emotions of a dramatic musical setting, from Pray and Re-Light My Fire to Patience and Rule The World.

The Band title is derived not only from the fantasy boy band that sings the favourites in a perma Take That glow, but also from the band that each of the North Western teenage girls wore on their wrist after attending a Take That show in 1993. Twenty-five years later, mirroring Take That in having a reunion, the bond of the bands they have all kept is renewed.

As with Calendar Girls, Firth has the knack of judging when to change the mood back and firth, I mean forth, between comedy and pathos. What’s more, he does so this time while switching the focus from the 16-year-old schoolgirls to the women they have become at 41, with surprises aplenty in store. He knows too when to turn off the waterworks, largely through the feisty Heather (Katy Clayton/Emily Joyce).

As ever, the Olivier Award-winning Firth has an easy, natural way with humour, in particular noting how we banter, tease and fall out. One gag about the Duke of York is a particular pearl, and he is as amusingly observant of teenage behaviour as he is of the fully formed adults. Rachel Lumberg and Faye Christall are equally tremendous as the older and younger Rachel, the narrator’s role, and there is an especially lovely performance from Rachelle Diedericks as the sparky teenager Debbie.

What of the “boys” in The Band? AJ Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis J Johns, Yazdan Qafouri and Sario Solomon appear as anything from aircraft crew to Prague fountain statues, with fabulous choreography by co-director Kim Gavin to take Take That to the heights!

Add Jon Bausor’s designs, Jack Ryder’s co-direction and a series of dead funny deadpan cameos by Andy Williams as Every Dave, and The Band could be the greatest play of your lives...well, if you love Take That. Apparently, a film version could follow, and why not.

The Band, Leeds Grand Theatre, until Saturday. Box office: 0844 848 2700 or