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Cilla The Musical

Published by: Alison Smith on 27th Sep 2017 | View all blogs by Alison Smith

Cilla the Musical at Milton Keynes Theatre

Reviewed by Alison Smith 

For those in the audience who were teenagers in the 60s in Liverpool, Cilla the Musical, is a most pleasing nostalgic journey; for others the musical brings to life a plethora of great foot- tapping pop songs, belted out by a young girl with a great voice. Kara Lily Haworth portrays Cilla – a confident, somewhat brash, character. Kara is easily able to cover the needed vocal range and her acting ability gives a believable portrait of the life of Cilla, her triumphs and her heartaches. 

Priscilla White’s life is one of those extraordinary, heart-warming true stories of an ordinary girl hitting the high life. In the right place at the right time, blessed with a strong voice, determination and a good manager/husband, Cilla was a pop star with two number ones in the charts, before she segued into a ‘national treasure’.

Jeff Pope has adequately adapted his TV series Cilla for the stage. However,  the first act is slow  - the setting of the scene somewhat dull , a Liverpool Club, supposedly  the Cavern , Bobby and Cilla’s first meeting, the introduction of Brian  Epstein. There is little to enliven the backs of the jigging fans in the Cavern, with low lights and little energy. The last song of this act – Anyone Who Had a Heart – does at last bring relief to the monotony.

The second act is much more entertaining; there are more set and light changes, lively choreography and a more interesting story line –  will Cilla be a success in the States, will Booby become a singer ,will they part or not? But again it is the music of the 60s, which is the most captivating - the ironic ‘You’ve Got to Hide your Love Away, the moving Alfie ,the touching Liverpool Lullaby.

Two other members of the cast deserve praise. Bobby, played by Carl Au and the tormented Brian,  Andrew Lancel. Both actors are totally believable in their roles,  generously supporting Kara.

The finale was lively – the audience on their feet , dancing and clapping. It is just a shame the first act did not have an equal amount of energy.

Cilla the musical is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 30th September 

0844 8717652

Booking Fee applies



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