Cilla – The Musical at New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

by Julie Wallis twitter.com/Nicenic63

Cilla – the Musical at the New Alexandra Theatre

Cilla – the Musical is showing at New Alexandra Theatre all this week and I went along to see it last night.

If you missed out on the1960s and the sound of the Mersey Beat, then you can briefly experience a taste of the decade that defined music and gave us the mini skirt. Cilla – the Musical is based on the real life events that led to Cilla Black becoming the face on every television set throughout the 1980s.

Kara Lily Hayworth (Cilla) - Cilla The Musical - Liverpool Empire - Photo By Matt Martin (014)
Kara Lily Hayworth (Cilla) – Cilla The Musical – Liverpool Empire – Photo By Matt Martin

From her early days working with the Beatles, meeting and marrying Bobby, Anyone Who Had A Heart and You’re My World both hitting number one in the charts ( or the Hit Parade as we called it then) you are transported to a magical era.

Kara Lily Hayworth plays Cilla and… dare I say it??… I think she sings better than the real Cilla. There. I said it. That may be controversial, but it’s only my opinion, so PLEASE don’t hate me if you’re a fan of the real Cilla. That said, if you are a fan of the real Cilla, then Kara Lily Hayworth certainly will not disappoint.

Cast of Cilla The Musical - Liverpool Empire - Photo By Matt Martin (004)
Cast of Cilla The Musical – Liverpool Empire – Photo By Matt Martin

Kara has a depth and richness to her voice and really does justice to all of Cilla’s hits which also included Step Inside Love, Something Tells Me, Alfie and strangely… Zip-a-dee Doo Dah. For me, Kara had a more gentle tone to her speaking voice too and although I’m sure her Liverpudlian accent perhaps wouldn’t have anyone believe she was a real scouser it certainly was convincing enough to transport me to Liverpool and the 1960’s.

Carl Au plays her beloved Bobby, who was her manager, as well as becoming her husband, Cilla’s career skyrockets. We watch her go from humble beginnings. Carl Au has a certain likeable cheekiness as Bobby, and a better Liverpudlian accent. I found both Bobby and Cilla to be completely believable last night.

Kara Lily Hayworth (Cilla) - Cilla The Musical - Liverpool Empire - Photo By Matt Martin
Kara Lily Hayworth (Cilla) – Cilla The Musical – Liverpool Empire – Photo By Matt Martin

Andrew Lancel plays Brian Epstein, a hard nosed, straight talking business man who was also responsible for giving the world The Beatles who feature in Cilla – the Musical too. The Beatles don’t have an awful lot of acting time but they did sing and play live at “The Cavern” last night. The Cavern, when it is recreated on stage is a very authentic copy of the real Cavern and when The Beatles were playing it all felt strangely real.

It does help that Paul McCartney, as played by Joshua Gannon looks uncannily like a young macca, and Michael Hawkins does bare a passing resemblance to John Lennon, if he has the light behind him and you squint! Luckily for Bill Caple he looks nothing like Ringo Starr, but the boys did sound great when they played.

There are not a lot of set changes, and for the majority the sets are a painted backdrop to suggest Cilla’s parents living room, or an office but when Cilla sings or the Beatles play and the lights go up it’s just perfect. Great lighting does something that backdrops or any amount of props can’t ever do, it gives fantastic atmosphere. Nick Richings as lighting designer has captured the mood for each musical piece absolutely spot on.

L-R Christopher Weeks, Alex Harford, Jay Osbourne, Gemma Brodrick-Bower (Pauline) - Cilla The Musical - Liverpool Empire - Photo By Matt Martin (134)
L-R Christopher Weeks, Alex Harford, Jay Osbourne, Gemma Brodrick-Bower (Pauline) – Cilla The Musical – Liverpool Empire – Photo By Matt Martin

This show has a lot of singing, and live music on stage, you will certainly get a lot of entertainment for your ticket price. I was thoroughly enjoying myself last night and when I spoke to a couple during the interval and asked “what do you think?” His one word answer really summed it up. “Brilliant” and judging by the rapturous applause and standing ovation last night it seemed everyone in attendance agreed.

Cilla – the Musical gets a big thumbs up from me, and I’d definitely recommend it to any fans of both Cilla Black or The Beatles. Last night’s show had a certain je ne sais quoi to it, there is a strange magic that takes place and that magic can only be experienced, it can not be described. I loved Cilla – the Musical much more than I anticipated I ever would. Everyone was buzzing with excitement when they left, it certainly was a very special performance.

Once again many thanks the the New Alexandra Theatre for being perfect hosts as ever. Last night was a lorra lorra fun.

Cilla – the Musical is on at the New Alexandra Theatre until Saturday 14th October. atgtickets.com/shows/cilla-the-musical/new-alexandra-theatre-birmingham/


Julie was invited to see Cilla – the Musical by New Alexandra Theatre on behalf of #BrumHour. This isn’t a sponsored post.

 

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