Cilla the Musical Review

Darlington Hippodrome – until Saturday 24 November 2018

5*****

Based on a TV show, now a theatrical tour de force, Cilla the Musical tells the tale of dear departed, national treasure Cilla Black.

Cilla (or Cyril as John Lennon lovingly calls her) dreams of singing, her parents Big Cilla (Jayne Ashley) and John (Neil McDonald) are proud of the fact she works in an office and try to dissuade her from a showbiz life.  But her friends Pat (Billie Hardy) and Pauline (Gemma Broderick) and her boyfriend Bobby Willis know she has what it takes to be a massive star.

Her big break comes when Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles hears her singing.  Her first audition for him a disaster, her second see’s her signed and on her way to Abbey Road and to the top.

Kara Lily Hayworth, who was chosen from thousands of hopefuls, is magnificent as Cilla.  Her rendition of Anyone Who Had a Heart at the end of the first act was show stoppingly beautiful.  Her growing relationship with Bobby (Alexander Patmore) which became a long and happy marriage, and her fight to be famous with Epstein (Andrew Lancel) whilst feeling second fiddle to the Beatles

There is poignancy when the Beatles sing Hide Your Love Away – in essence about John hiding his wife and son from the fans, but when Epstein sings hauntingly along you realise that he was hiding his sexuality, so not to commit an offence.

There is a strong narrative throughout, telling a true story with some wonderfully rousing music and vocals with a live band on and musicians off stage led by Scott Alder: clothes that accentuate the nostalgia, an incredible and versatile set perfectly evoking the era and a talented ensemble make for a perfect balance of song and story line.  

This is the perfect night out, whether you a fan of Cilla, of the 60’s or just of good music.   Lovingly created by her good friends Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield, with input from her son Robert Willis – this is a production that has been created with a “lorra lorra” love for our Cilla

In Darlington until Saturday and on tour around the UK

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