The Band might seem to be about us, but actually it’s about the people in the audience”, Rachel Lumberg tells me.

“It means the reaction is really quite something, so it’s a brilliant but emotional musical to be in.”

She is starring in the smash jukebox musical, set to the music of Take That, which depicts a group of teenage girlfriends who do everything together, until a tragedy scatters the friendship.

25 years on, one of them wins tickets to the boy band’s reunion and she tries to get the group of old friends back together.

Bringing The Band to the stage has however, also been a long journey. Although Take That were looking for a musical vessel in which to showcase their songs, their favoured writer Tim Firth couldn’t find the right formula.

Until, that is, a friend of a friend went to a Take That reunion with her old mates, none of whom had seen each other for 25 years, and suddenly he had a storyline.

The hunt then began to find five lads to play the former members of Take That, which culminated in the TV show Let It Shine hosted by Gary Barlow.

Rachel, however, was cast from the beginning, having starred in three of Tim’s musicals already, including Calender Girls and This is my Family.

The Welsh lass laughs and says she is too old to have bonded over Take That with her own friends, and that she was more of a Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet fan. None-the-less, she says she loves the plot and can relate to the premise.

“I grew up recording the Top 40 on Sundays and pressing pause on the tape so you didn’t have to hear the DJ,” she says.

“We all grew up at 16 with a soundtrack to our lives didn’t we? And this is as much about the people we grew up with as the music itself.”

Ironically, Rachel plays a character also called Rachel, rumoured to have been named after her, a boyband superfan whose husband wins the reunion tickets and plans to take her as a surprise. But she wants to take her old friends.

It’s worth pointing out that although Take That music forms the soundtrack, the band’s name is never mentioned on stage. Take That are not the story.

Instead, the show focuses on these five girls growing up together and becoming women: “It’s about how they transition from 16 to 40 year-olds,” says Rachel. “It is genius how the producers have done that, because although they haven’t seen each other for 25 years, they still have the same dreams and aspirations as their 16 year-old selves, just in a slightly different way. It’s about their mindset.

“It’s really empowering to have all those women up on stage, because you have the five younger girls and then the five of us, plus the five lads on stage pretty much all the time singing. They have really stunning voices and they tell our story thorough song.”

And what of the show’s success? Is the audience made up of Take That fans?

“Yes, initially it was Take That fans and viewers of Let It Shine. But it’s been such a success that we have our own followers now, even though the majority of our audience have never been to the theatre before, which just proves that music really brings people together.

“So if you just want a good night out and really enjoy yourself, this is for you.”

As for Rachel, she says that just looking out into the audience every night and watching the dynamics and the joy, is reward enough: “Seeing these groups of really old friends singing and tapping their feet is really something,” she says.

“It’s been quite profound, because we can all relate to the storyline.

“So if you haven’t seen your old friends for a while, why not give them a ring and bring them along?

“The Band is about all of us, and all of our stories, which is why it’s so effective.”

Catch it while you can in Oxford because producers expect it to move to the West End very soon.

The Band is at The New Theatre Oxford from Tuesday October 30 to Saturday November 3. Tickets from