35 smash hits – one pop goddess screams the strap-line for “The Cher Show” and, I think, they may well be right. Cher is an iconic goddess descending from pop heaven to regenerate herself both artistically and physiologically many times over her astounding life on earth. She may not be able to claim to be an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) but she has accumulated an Emmy, Grammy and Oscar – you can work out the acronym yourself. From stepping into producer Phil Spector’s office in 1962 and saying “Hi” to stepping off the Abbacopter in 2018 and saying, “Mes enfants, je suis arrive!” it has been a rollercoaster career in all manner of media from film to TV to music to stage. A career many may think too implausible to capture in a simple stage musical. Well, they’d be wrong…
Not one, not two but three Chers coalesce to personify the goddess a solo performer could not hope to emulate single handedly and prove themselves more than well suited to the challenge. Debbie Kurup, Danielle Steers and Millie O’Connell deliver three different stages of the life story and hang around long enough to be excellent narrators when they are not the star turn. They could, perhaps, offer themselves as a tribute trio in years to come under the title Cher and Cher Alike. It’s a brave and quirky device to have trio of Chers (a diva of Chers is perhaps a better group noun) and it served the story well – what little story there is, sadly. Cher seems to have had a successful life with a few blips along the way but little to really create a gripping narrative. At least we had the music to grip us in its place. And it certainly did.
Ample support is offered by Lucas Rush as Sonny, Jake Mitchell as Bob Mackie, Sam Ferriday as an entire coterie of suitors and producers and Tori Scott as Cher’s mother all of whom deftly delivered spot on performances. The ceaseless ensemble swirl and whirl relentlessly throughout playing small parts, reminding us of the year and perfectly embellishing the whole. Set wise for most of the show we seem entombed in the stock room of Next with grey, drab suit covers hanging listlessly from towering clothes rails. Costumes were equally black and grey making me think we’re in for a glittery finale, then. And we were. A silver effusion of colours exploded for the last ten minutes as we treated the usual mega-mix of those tunes we have known and loved.
At the end I didn’t know which was louder – the orchestra or the couple behind me. They hooted and whooped and hollered and howled in a delighted orgasm of Cher devotion as did the entire crowd. A fun, funny and delivering evening.
The Cher show continues in Birmingham until August 6th before continuing on it’s UK and tour. https://cheronstage.com/tour-dates/
Reviewer: Peter Kinnock
Reviewed: 2nd August 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★