I must confess I don’t know much about Cilla Black. I remember watching her on Blind Date every single Saturday with the family. Sat around the TV with my dinner on my lap. My family hated it, but they tolerated it because I loved it so much. That’s about as far as my Cilla knowledge goes. I learnt later on in life that she used to be a singer and that she was signed to the same record label as The Beatles – but still that’s as far as my knowledge went. Call me ignorant but her life was never one that I felt compelled to learn about and I wasn’t compelled to see the musical either but after hearing good things I thought it might be worth a shot.
The show in general felt very stop start and the first act in particular was very clunky and felt very repetitive. It was a bit like Groundhog Day with a concert where Cilla was having a bit of a drama over one menial thing or another. The fans enjoying the concerts were extremely lacklustre, it’s a musical and I expected there to be a bit more enjoyment. One of the cast members didn’t even crack a smile!
There was a huge focus on the whole angle of Cilla versus The Beatles and I think I heard more of The Beatles’ music than Cilla’s! I was really looking forward to learning about her life as a teen and young adult and her relationship with Bobby. I came away from that show just thinking that Cilla was a bit of a bitch. I don’t think that was the intention of the writers but I just found myself rooting for Bobby and hoping that he would leave her. It wasn’t exactly the storyline I expected it to be.
Kara Lily Hayworth (Cilla) needs a little bit of work on her accent however we did see her early on in the tour so hopefully it’ll improve in time and her vocals were okay… Carl Au (Bobby) was the stand out for me and the most talented cast member by a country mile. His singing voice was fantastic and I’m so glad he performed a solo to showcase that he’s, essentially, worth much more than this show.
There were some heartwarming elements to the show and definitely some funny moments but, in all honesty, I was waiting for it to end. The numbers underwhelmed me and a lot of the ensemble looked like they didn’t even want to be there. To be fair, neither did I… So who can blame them? There are some great musicals out there based on true lives; Evita, Jersey Boys and Motown to name a few. My personal recommendation would be to go and watch one of these three and, if you want to learn about Cilla Black’s life, you’re better off sticking to Wikipedia.