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Cilla The Musical @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

Published by: Yvonne Delahaye on 11th Apr 2018 | View all blogs by Yvonne Delahaye

Cilla - The Musical Tickets at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre,

When Jeff Pope’s iconic TV series, Cilla, aired in September 2014 featuring an incredible performance from Sheridan Smith, no-one could have predicted that within a year Cilla Black would sadly be dead.  Initially she was very nervous about her life story and romance with Bobby Willis (who became her husband and manager), being portrayed in a TV series.  Once she read the script though, she felt reassured and once she saw the TV show she was thrilled.

Cilla was born Priscilla Maria Veronica White in 1943, but when she signed a recording contract with Brian Epstein in 1963, he changed her name to Cilla Black.  When Cilla sang with her friends, The Beatles, Brian came along but a poor choice of song meant he left early and Cilla almost gave up. Fate was on her side though, as he heard her singing again and this time the rock song delivered and he signed her up.  The first recording failed to make a mark, but once they’d selected the right song ‘Anyone Who Has A Heart’ hit the number one slot in 1964, Cilla’s career was assured.

Adapting his TV series for the stage musical, Jeff Pope has concentrated on these early years up until the launch of Cilla’s own TV series for the BBC in 1967, which ran until 1976.

Fellow Liverpudlian Bill Kenwright, seized the opportunity to turn the successful TV mini-series into a stage show and Cilla the Musical opened in September 2017 at the Liverpool Empire and has been touring ever since. Giving a fantastic performance as Cilla is Buckinghamshire lass Kara Lily Hayworth.  She nails the accent, humour and character of one of the UK’s best-loved personalities.  Kara’s voice is stunning and she commands the stage with her presence and has the same star quality as Cilla, so expect to see and hear a lot more of her over the coming years.

Carl Au plays Bobby Willis, the totally besotted man who becomes indispensible to Cilla and gives up his own career potential to take care of her. Andrew Lancel is the manager, Brian Epstein, who adores Cilla but has a self-destruct button that can’t be switched off.  Neil MacDonald (as Cilla’s dad John White) has brilliant comic timing and is a joy to watch.

Supported by a talented cast of musicians, dancers and singers, this really is a fabulous night’s entertainment.  The costumes were stunning, particularly the long glittery dresses designed to maximise Cilla’s famous red hair.

The Waterside Theatre has a special connection with Cilla, as she opened the theatre in October 2010.  She went on to appear in Cinderella and I’ll never forget her entrance flying in wearing a long gold sequined dress with a long train...amazing!

Cilla’s memory and the legacy of her work will never be forgotten and she will always be fondly remembered by her adoring public.  This is a wonderful tribute and everyone was on their feet at the end singing and dancing along.  Adding in an extra song (which I didn’t know) after that made everyone sit down and I wasn’t sure that it actually added anything to the show, but that was only my observation and it’s a great night out!

The show runs at The Waterside to Saturday 14th April and from 17th-21st April at Norwich Theatre Royal.  Further tour dates will be available later this year.

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

10.04.18

@yvonnedelahaye

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