Quick Change Reviews: The Cher Show (UK Premiere)
Naturally, The Cher Show is a game-changing spectacular. Featuring rich vocals, sharp design and showstopping choreography, it tributes a legacy beyond comparison.
Because, would you expect anything less?
This UK premiere charts the formidable rise of the Goddess of Pop, as told by hers truly. Well, three Chers actually. Dreamy.
BABE (Millie O’Connell) is an underestimated teen chasing her dream of fame, LADY (Danielle Steers) is a rising TV icon realising what she really needs to truly be happy, and STAR (Debbie Kurup) is a woman with fire in her belly; undefeated, powerful, and together, unrivalled.
Together, they are formidable.
Cher’s story is told with tenderness and consideration throughout. Sure, there are laughs – Rick Elice’s book is decidedly self-aware and splattered with gems of one-liners that take aim and never miss. But Arlene Phillips’ expert direction ensures that the story, as whistle-stop as it is, is told with balance and respect. The anthems punctuate the time.
BABE steers us through the early years. Under her block fringe, there is a doe-eyed girl lusting over an older guy, Sonny Bono (Lucas Rush). The pair cling to one another’s hands as they capture hearts with ‘I Got You Babe’.
O’Connell’s portrayal of the shy young hippy is slightly kooky, and the effect is joyfully charismatic. She and Rush form a duo that are sickeningly sweet.
Photo by Pamela Raith
During Cher’s astronomical rise to fame, LADY takes the reigns. Kicking ass as a new mother and wife, whilst working the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour and residing in Vegas, LADY’s starry scenes are laced with melancholy and cast a darkness on the story.
Steers is the very embodiment of Cher. Her voice is aflame with passion; first for her relationship, but mostly for the courage she knows she has inside her.
Steers’ performance is a proud justice not only for Cher, but for every woman finding their inner strength.
Photo by Pamela Raith
BABY and STAR are by her side throughout acting as foresight and hindsight, an angel, and a devil on the shoulder.
The moments that the three Chers share on stage are nuggets of theatrical magic. Their mirrored mannerisms are credit to the natural connection they clearly share with each other, and the connection they have devoted to Cher herself.
Together, the powerhouses battle through ‘Bang Bang’ followed by a gentle rendition of ‘Believe’ sang with a delicate tenderness, before closing act 1 with a deeply emotive rendition of ‘Song for the Lonely’ that unites every heart in the room.
Dazzling costumes, expertly designed by Gabriella Slade, are worn as armour and make statement after statement. In the show, Jake Mitchell stars as Cher’s fashion designer, Bob Mackie. As her trusted sidekick and confidant, he dresses her for the kill (sidenote: he also dances the same way).
Gold sequined tassels catch the light much like her voice, whilst silver studs act as weapons for defence. Her heels are as sharp as her tongue, and bedazzled flared trousers perfectly silhouette her adoration for the era that shaped her. This perfectly contradicts the male-dominated voices that tried, and failed, to kick Cher to the curb.
STAR leads the second half of the extravaganza. Surrounded by drugs, paparazzi and burned by a messy divorce and unjust contract, Cher faces new challenges. Over the years, she trails a string of failed romances, has a new baby, tries advertising, and has a stint on Broadway before hitting big-time in Hollywood.
Everybody was ready to laugh at her, until they couldn’t.
Photo by Pamela Raith
Kurup’s Cher is the one that resonates the most – she is the one we know and love today. Her voice is deeper, like it has lived a life that the show has barely scraped the edge of. It is a stellar performance delivered with deserved confidence and triumph.
The Cher Show is not complete without Cher’s entourage. A kickass ensemble dressed as sailors that never drop the beat. From babes to bitches, all attitudes are covered with slick choreography as expected from the queen of the show-dance, Oti Mabuse. Her choreography pays homage to the many styles of music that inspired Cher and above all, how it makes her fans feel when they hear it.
The Cher Show is a celebration of a woman whose music has helped millions to dig deep into their souls and continue to believe.
Yes bitch, you'd better believe you are strong enough.