The Cher Show

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Coming to the end of its UK tour with the last week at Norwich Theatre Royal, The Cher Show is obviously a musical, however being stuffed with 35 Cher songs, it’s a fantastically wonderful musical. I had high expectations and they were exceeded!

We kick off by watching a show rehearsal where Cher is late as she is in the dressing room talking to herselves and reflecting on life. Notice I said ‘herselves’ and this is what makes the show different from a traditional straight time line on her life story as in this musical we have three Chers!! Each Cher represents a stage in her life, but continue to be integral to the whole performance by being all almost constantly on stage, either watching her future self, or her past self. The Chers help to narrate the story which keeps it jogging along and Cher gets to interact with herself which adds different dimensions.

It is the story of Cher’s life, squeezed into just over two hours, which is a challenge therefore the significant parts of her life are the focus however the show still manages to cover a lot of ground without it feeling rushed. There is more time spent on the earlier years to show how her experiences shaped her life. The story starts in 1952 when Cher is an awkward, tall, shy girl who had a goal to be famous. A strong mother who gave Cher the belief in herself to keep going no matter how scared you are: song makes us strong.

A lot of Cher’s story is well known, however when you see it all together you really appreciate how hard she has worked to achieve her goal and how resilient she is, overcoming many challenges to become confident enough to be herself.

Loads of Cher’s songs are used, some I had forgotten that she sang, and even forgotten how brilliant they are. Not all songs are used in their entirety, maybe only snippets to enhance the scene and not all songs are in timeline order, however they are placed into the correct spot for maximum entertainment or emotional attachment for the audience. Tracks included: Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down), If I Can Turn Back Time, Strong Enough……well you know them all already!

Let’s talk about the three Chers:

Babe – young Cher played by Millie O’Connell
Lady – Cher as a young woman played by Danielle Steers
Star – Cher, the superstar, played by Debbie Kurup

All three were unbelievably fantastic! Playing a person who has such a distinctive contralto voice, it’s clear these three amazing women spent time studying Cher to be able to put on the best version they possibly could, and don’t forget, as they were on stage together there had to be consistencies throughout their individual performances. They nailed it. They all managed to include the nuances of Cher in such a brilliant way. Individually they all had exceptional voices with incredible power to belt out the songs and when they sang together it was truly outstanding.

Having three talented women playing the same character on stage could be a tricky one, however the level of warmth towards each other on stage was enchanted, which made the interactions between the different ages of Cher work so well. It was very natural.

The other characters in the story, including Sonny, Greg and Georgia, had fabulous voices too – a highly talented cast, including the ensemble (Cher’s Entourage) who brought energy and fun to each step. I’ve not even mentioned the costumes yet, as magnificent as you can imagine!

It was a hugely entertaining, super talented, fantastic show.

Photo Credit: Pamela Raith Photography

This review appeared on GrapevineLIVE.


Andrew Westerside

BurySOUND 2023 – Heat Two


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