Following the recent success of the BBC’s Let It Shine, where young men across the country auditioned to be part of the band that were chosen by the British public to star in Take That’s new musical The Band, which embarks on a UK tour from this September.
The new stage musical featuring the songs of Take That is a story of love and friendship, and what it is like to grow up with a boyband. For five 16 year-old girls, their lives are centred around the boyband and when they are reunited 25 years on, they connect once again in attempt to fulfil their dream of meeting the heroes of their childhood that glued them all together.
Rachel Lumberg stars as older Rachel, “she is loyal, funny, quirky and troubled, but she has the best friends in the world, as we all did when we were 16,” Rachel explained. “Things are happening in her life and she realises that something is missing, and begins to question her happiness.” Rachel brings the group of friends back together after all those years, and we soon learn about her love for the boyband and how their music shaped her life.
Approaching the role, Rachel plays the older Rachel and therefore works closely with Faye Christall who is taking on the younger role. “I watch a lot of what Faye does within the first few scenes of when they’re teenagers, and I pick that out to use it later, like her own little traits and idiosyncrasies. Similarly, Faye sees things I use later on and brings them into her scenes as well,” Rachel said. “When I look at Faye and I look at pictures of myself at 16, we are like peas in a pod, it is scary how similar we actually are.”
“Our life is told through music and for all of us we have all had this love for a band, so much so that when they release a song, you are so in love with it you’re convinced that it is all about you.”
Rachel has worked with Tim Firth on many occasions and therefore knows how his genius mind works. “Obviously the story is the most important thing to us, but incorporating the music that has already been written is a whole different approach. We already know the songs, but when they are used in the context of this piece you actually see them in a completely different light,” she explained. Rachel is more commonly known for her comedy work, and although there is a lot of comedy embedded into the show, she has a lot of touching moments in the musical. “The biggest challenge is probably the switch between the younger girls and older girls, and making sure you continue the arc of the piece even though it breaks from the younger Rachel to the older Rachel,” she told me.
Growing up listening to Take That, Rachel adored them, but even more so when they reformed in the 90s. However, working on The Band has given her a real appreciation for their music, “Everyone sings along to Take That’s songs in the car thinking they sound fantastic, but when you see the music actually written and the intricacies of it, it’s very impressive,” she said.
“It is a show with a huge heart, and you’re allowed to think of people you’ve loved and lost and people you want to bring back. The story is incredibly moving but you will leave feeling uplifted.”
Watching BBC’s Let It Shine eagerly every week, Rachel was cast before the TV show began filming. “I knew by week one that they were right,” she said about winning band Five To Five. “And the British public thought that too because they are utterly phenomenal guys.” All from a music background, this is their first time stepping into a rehearsal studio for theatre. “It is quite incredible to be in a room with them, they work their little backsides off, they watch and learn as this is all very new to them. They have never effectively been in an actors’ rehearsal room before.”
Whilst it will attract a multitude of Take That Fans, it is a musical bursting with heart. “We want to pull them in with the story,” Rachel said. “There are certain moments where of course you’re encouraged to stand up and sing-along with us. But I really hope somebody sits there and goes, ‘I’ve not seen someone for a very long time’ and they go home and ring them and they say ‘do you want a cup of tea, it has been too long.’ I have a group of my school friends going, and I love that they are coming to see it because it is our story.”
The Band embarks on a UK tour on the 8th of September 2017 until the 14th of July 2018, information can be found here.