Our review of The Cher Show – A walk through the life and loves of this legendary performer

The Cher Show offers a walk through the life and loves of this legendary performer and is the next best thing to seeing her perform live, writes Alison Norton.

It is hard to believe the iconic pop diva’s career has spanned six decades, but at the age of 76, she is still wowing her audiences with her unique fashion sense, academy award-winning dramatic performances, and of course her music.

After a career like that she deserves a tribute in her honour and this is a camptastic, explosion of pure pleasure.

Hot off the Broadway stage, the production offers us three different characterisations of the star at varying times in her life, who all appear on stage at the same time to tell her story. Sounds a little confusing? Not all thanks to precise direction and unusual ideas, courtesy of West End Grand Dame Arlene Phillips, who has ensured The Cher Show is so much more than just another jukebox musical.

In parts, perhaps it is a little too “American” for British audiences, but then having reinvented herself so many times over the years (even Madonna is envious!), Cher does remain the ultimate star from across the pond, and so we accept all the chutzpah and schmaltz, and even embrace it.

Given her ill-fated marriages, peppered with domestic violence and corruption on the part of her husband Sonny Bono, the storyline is emotional in parts, yet in contrast, humorous too and just light-hearted enough to keep it real.

The hits of course come thick and fast with Believe, Strong Enough, Just Like Jessie James and the classic sixties hit I’ve Got You Babe being highlights, but there are also tunes that probably only hard-core fans would appreciate which are equally well performed.

It’s almost impossible to choose between Debbie Kurup as Star, Danielle Steers and Lady and Millie O’Connell as Babe, the three versions of Cher in her lifetime, but if pushed, I would say that Danielle just had the edge vocally. That said, all three ladies delivered off-the-scale vocal performances with the perfect interpretation of the diva and her unique singing and speaking voice and turn of phrase.

Resident Director of the show, Guy Woolf gave a superb portrayal of Sonny Bono while Tori Scott as Georgia is the ultimate pushy mother. Sam Ferriday deserves a very special mention for taking on no less than four cameo roles, all of which he excelled in and Jake Mitchell as Bob Mackie is unashamedly larger than life.

However, it is the exceptionally talented ensemble of dancers and singers who are the backbone of the show, delivering Strictly Star Oti Mabuse’s high-energy choreography to perfection, with sass and high-energy. The opening number set the scene for the evening of pure entertainment to come, gathering momentum through to the finale.

There is superb orchestration from Danny Belton and his band who recreate Cher’s inimitable musical numbers above and beyond the original standard.

Ben Cracknell’s excellent lighting effects create the feeling of sitting in an arena rather than a theatre and also suit the mood of each scene, while the static scenery is efficient and unobtrusive and does not detract from the action on stage.

Gabriella Slade’s costume designs are nothing short of star-spangled, glittering and racy, rather like Cher herself, bringing pure glamour and style and certainly give an authentic feel to the piece throughout each and every era.

The Cher Show does exactly what it says on the tin. It is the perfect tribute to this diva of modern music but is also both informative and entertaining.

The finale is nothing short of spectacular with the whole audience up singing and dancing, and the standing ovation that followed is testament to both the star and the show’s popularity.

Turn Back Time for a few hours and grab a ticket if you can. It’s amazing!

Runs until Saturday. Call 01902 429212 or visit grandtheatre.co.uk to book.

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