REVIEW: Cilla the Musical @ The Palace Theatre, Manchester

downloadThe incredible story of the rise to stardom of the nation’s favourite, Cilla Black is brought to the stage at the Palace Theatre in Manchester this week.

And the show is the perfect tribute to one of Liverpool’s finest daughters who made it to the big time from humble beginnings on “Scotty Road”.

It is a refreshingly honest account which doesn’t attempt to hide some of the diva-like moments in Cilla’s journey. The part is brilliantly realised on stage by Kara Lily Hayworth who provides the right blend of feisty young scouser with endearing vulnerability¬† i her performance.

And most importantly, Howarth can certainly belt out a tune. It’s hairs on the back of the neck time when she performs those classic Cilla numbers.

There is a charming and touching portrayal of the the relationship between Cilla and Bobby Willis, who was later to become her hubby. Carl Au, remembered as the villainous Barry in Waterloo Road, is excellent in the role.

This is also the story of the Mersey Beat, and features heavily the Beatles and other bands from that era. Andrew Lancel provides a touching performance as the troubled Beatles and Cilla manager, Brian Epstein, culminating in the moving scene depicting his final breakdown.

There are also a number of other sub plots to the play, adding depth to the drama touching on the sectarianism and religious prejudice in the Catholic – Protestant divide which was prevalent in Liverpool at the time.

But central to all of this the music from the great lady. Well worth a visit.

Runs till Saturday.



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