Liverpool arrived in Norwich this week.
Following the much-acclaimed television series Cilla, starring Sheridan Smith, I did wonder how this stage show could be equally as good, condensed into just over two hours.
It is quite simple – this show concentrates only on the music and the key stages of Liverpool’s favourite daughter Cilla Black’s rise to stardom.
It all started with Cilla dancing in the now legendary Cavern Club before being invited on stage to sing with the Beatles prior to them becoming worldwide superstars. She performed in front of music mogul Brian Epstein (played by Andrew Lancel, formerly Coronation Street’s Frank Foster).
Epstein encourages Priscilla White to become Cilla Black and, after finding her a ballad to sing – Anyone Who Had A Heart, Cilla became the number one British female pop star in her twenties.
By her side through every part of her adult life was Bobby Willis, played by Carl Au. The role of Bobby in this production is just as important as Cilla herself and Au plays it admirably.
Kara Lily Hayworth plays the lead role with huge shoes to fill, not just Cilla’s but, of course, Sheridan Smith’s. And fill them she does.
This show takes you on a journey and, despite knowing the story, you still find yourself rooting for Cilla as her life takes its twists and turns. The show is full of colour, laughter and heart-wrenching moments as the production takes your through many well-known and lesser-known Cilla favourites.
Although this is a musical, it also has real substance and it is refreshing to see a virtually unknown making us believe that she really is Cilla with her carbon copy voice and accent.
You don’t have to be a Cilla fan to enjoy the show, the audience varied in age from those who can remember her heyday in the 1960s to those today that saw the feel-good television series and wanted to see it live.
There is a string of hits from the era and not just Cilla’s. So, if you are a fan of the sounds of the 60s, then this show is for you.
It has been nearly three years since Cilla left us but her legacy truly lives on with this stage production and we are certainly lucky to have it in Norwich.
Cilla runs until Saturday April 21st and has a mixture of matinees and evening performances. Tickets are available here: https://bit.ly/2EQgrar or by calling the box office 01603 630000.