Muddy watches Cilla the Musical
Did you watch the TV series Cilla in 2014 (by BAFTA Award-winner Jeff Pope) with the disgustingly talented Sheridan Smith? It was an absolute winner in the Muddy household so we were pretty excited about Cilla The Musical coming to the Royal & Derngate! But who would they find to warble the very distinctive tones of the red-headed Liverpudlian? Because even if actual Cilla wasn’t a tough enough act to follow, the young lady playing the role in the musical obviously has Sheridan’s shoes to step into to, and Mini Muddy and I were somewhat excited.
It’s been over two years since Cilla died. I don’t really remember her as the 1960s pop star but I do remember her as the colourful tv presenter on shows like Blind Date and Surprise Surprise. This stage show doesn’t get to those days but rather her early rise to stardom, the chatty Liverpudlian office typist to 1960s singer with several number 1 hits and the same manager as The Beatles, Brian Epstein. She had two number one hits in 1964 alone: Anyone who Had a Heart and You’re My World, with the former closing the first act spectacularly (I even had a tear in my eye). Kara Lily Hayworth played Cilla convincingly, but not as a caricature. She has a cracking set of lungs and carried most of the songs off with aplomb, sounding a touch more classical than Cills but it worked!
The cast were all brilliant with particular mentions to watch out for Cilla’s parents (hilariously Liverpudlian), Brian Epstein (a superb case of camp, over-acting working heart-wrenchingly well), and Bobby, Cilla’s husband (I haven’t warmed to a character like this for a long time and he had a beautifully syrupy voice and tres charismatic stage presence).
There are loads of Cilla’s songs and other hits of the time that were either covered by her – like Summertime or Dancing in the Streets – or other artists who pop in the show like the Beatles and Mamas and the Papas (California Dreaming) and Gerry and the Pacemakers (I Like It). A proper song romp-along!
I took the 13-year-old, but there weren’t a lot of teens there and I didn’t see any kids but I think if you remember Blind Date or were around in Cilla’s ’60s heyday, then you’d be hard pressed not to love it…the standing ovation and sing-a-long at the end, showed the first Northamptonshire lot at the Royal & Derngate certainly did (no surprise, surprise…er, sorry)!
It’s showing until this Sat 24 Feb, get your tickets here.