Edinburgh Playhouse
19th – 23rd September 2017

Stagecraft: Book: four-stars.png Performance: four-stars.png

As Summer turns to Autumn, Edinburgh Playhouse plays host to Cilla, The Musical.  A colourful and entertaining production brought to us by Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield, Cilla is the fascinating and true story of the rise of one of Britain’s most renowned singers, Cilla Black.  The set-design and stage-production combined seem to me to be one of the best artistic creations to have graced the stage at the Edinburgh Playhouse. Beautiful and realistic to every point, we are thrust back in time to a halycon age of music and change. The Cavern in Liverpool; Cilla’s family home; Recording Studios at Abbey Road and live American TV were all featured in this heart-warming show. Taking on the role of Cilla is Kara Lily Hayworth, who as singer and actress has an impressive back catalogue dating back to 1999.  With a strong cast, production and a 1960s wardrobe, this was sure to be an education as much as a musical. The journey begins in the early 1960s, with the song Some Other Guy done by the Big Three(the soon-to-be-Beatles. From the outset, it is obvious through the energy filling the room that this was a musical made for the people.  Direct in its approach and true to the life of Cilla,  this production takes a torch and shines the light on a courageous talented young girl who became a well-loved singer and household name until her recent passing away in 2015.


If it is the Golden Years you are looking for, then this is the show for you. Spread out over two Acts and with 29 songs from Cilla herself, plus The Beatles, Mamas and Papas, John Lennon and Gerry and the Pacemakers… this near 3 hour extravaganza is a thrilling experience. Like a run away train this show never stops. Powerful and addictive it has you hooked.  The delivery of the songs, the cutting edge acting and the attention to detail was excellent. Cilla the Musical is full of colour, fun, energy, humour, laughs, thrills, music and emotion that is refreshing to see. Cilla offers up more than just a musical, however, like a Hollywood biopic it gives us an insight into the life and struggles of an ordinary girl who has a dream. With feet unable to stop moving and legs willing to dance this was a chance to be part of something special, a night out with Cilla and friends. Magical and endearing from start to finish it leaves you with happy memories of times past. Superb !!!!

Reviewed by Raymondo Speedie


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