When I heard that Cilla the Musical was coming to Stoke On Trent I must admit I was a little concerned that the stage production would lack some of the magic of the television drama...I am very pleased to report I had nothing to worry about because in fact it's even better!
There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe the sensational performance of Kara Lily Hayworth as Cilla herself. Her portrayal of the legendary Cilla Black is flawless, her broad scouse accent never falters and her singing voice is simply phenomenonal evidenced by the outstanding and dynamic performance of 'Anyone Who Had a Heart' at the conclusion of Act 1 which sends shivers down the spine. At times throughout the show it was almost as though you were watching Cilla herself.
The supporting cast also triumph particularly the male leads; Andrew Lancel who plays Brian Epstein, and Carl Au as Bobby. Lancel portrays an emotional Epstein that pulls on the audiences heart strings. He doesn't have as big a role as he did in the TV show but Epstein is still a prominent character and the hints that are given about his life story prove fascinating.
The romance between Cilla and Bobby plays out beautifully in the show, brought to life by Au and Hayworth. You cry with Bobby when they split up and cheer when they get back together. The chemistry is magic and their voices gel together superbly for their duets.
Paul Broughton brings humour to the production in his role as John White, playing a stereotypical northern father which had the audience chuckling with laughter.
The set design by Gary McCann recreates 60's Liverpool perfectly with the recreation of terraced streets, retro interiors and of course the Cavern Club.
Cilla the Musical is an emotional rollercoaster that tells Cilla's story in a funny, heart moving and enjoyable way. The choice of music is excellent and the performances of it outstanding. Cilla is a must see show and one that should be around and playing to packed houses for a very long time.
Reviewed by Sam Weston and Daniel Keen at the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent.
Cilla is currently touring until 21st April 2018. For more information and tickets visit the shows website.