Cilla is Back! (By popular demand)

I’m pleased to tell you that Cilla is back at Milton Keynes – by popular demand and I’m not surprised one little but!

 

CILLA – THE MUSICAL is the spectacular and heart-warming musical adaptation of the critically acclaimed hit ITV television series by Bafta-Award winner Jeff Pope (The Moorside, Philomena, From The Cradle To The Grave, Mrs Biggs and the acclaimed Little Boy Blue which had ITV audiences glued to their screens). It tells the extraordinary story of the ordinary girl from Liverpool whose teenage dreams of stardom lead her to becoming one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers of all time. Milton Keynes Theatre has done well to get Cilla – The Musical so soon after it’s world premiere at the Liverpool Empire on 7th September this year.

It’s an introduction by a young John Lennon to music mogul Brian Epstein that changes Priscilla White’s life forever. By the age of just 25 she would be known as singer and TV Star Cilla Black, Number One selling artist and at the fore-front of the Brit-Pop music scene. The musical score is the ultimate soundtrack to the 60’s including Cilla’s greatest hits Anyone Who Had a Heart, Alfie and Something Tells Me, Twist and Shout by the Beatles, California Dreamin by The Mamas and The Papas’ and many more.

Bill Kenwright’s new musical features: Kara Lily Hayworth as Cilla, who beat thousands of hopefuls in nationwide open auditions for the coveted role. Andrew Lancel (Brian Epstein); Carl Au (Bobby);  Bill Caple (Ringo Starr); Joshua Gannon (Paul McCartney);  Michael Hawkins (John Lennon).

The musical reunites Tom Dunlea, Michael Hawkins and Gemma Brodrick-Bower, all of whom starred in Jeff Pope’s original ITV mini-series Cilla, on which the musical is based. It also reunites Andrew Lancel with the role of Epstein, which he played on stage to great critical acclaim in Epstein – The Man Who Made The Beatles. Andrew is best known to TV audiences as super-villain Frank Foster in Coronation Street and as DI Neil Manson in the long-running ITV television series The Bill.

The legendary Merseybeat sound is authentically performed live on stage by the cast who are completed by: Alan Howell; Jay Osbourne; Alex Harford; Will Kinnon; Jenny Murphy; Tom Sowinski; and Christopher Weeks.

Cilla – The Musical is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 3rd November for just 8 performances including 3 matinees

Box Office: www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes or Call:0844 871 7652

I was fortunate enough to be at the opening night in Milton Keynes – and it was an amazing experience! Previously after seeing very many Bill Kenwright productions I thought he’d hit a high with Joe McElderry as Joseph, but Cilla – The Musical is without doubt Mr Kenwright’s finest so far!

The lavish sets, the music as close to the original as it is possible to be all served to create the perfect atmosphere for our visit back to those days when pop music was changing, in fact young people in general were beginning to realise that new music was theirs and not meant for the middle aged who were still worshipping the crooners of the previous decade!

Kara Lily Hayworth is stunning as a performer and absolutely perfect in the role of Prescilla White who very soon became Cilla Black. Kara most certainly held her own alongside seasoned performers such as Andrew Lancel (a moving performance as Brian Epstein), Pauline Fleming as Big Cilla and Neil Macdonald as Cilla’s father John White (“I know about these things, I was in the Merchant Navy!”) – and the night was hers!

The rest of the cast, actors and musicians all were wonderful and the sounds they re-created took those of us of a certain age straight back – it was real, there’s no doubt!

I’m sure this will sell out this week and it should move into London if all’s fair, but if you can manage to get a ticket you’re in for a theatrical treat!

Cilla – The Musical is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 30th September

Box Office: www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes or Call:0844 871 7652

Benidorm hits the spot in Milton Keynes.

Benidorm at Milton Keynes Theatre until 20th October.

Age guidance: 12+

Starring Jake Canuso (Mateo), Janine Duvitski (Jacqueline), Adam Gillen (Liam), Sherrie Hewson (Joyce Temple-Savage), Shelley Longworth (Sam), Tony Maudsley (Kenneth) and featuring Neptune’s very own Asa Elliott, the official world premiere of Derren Litten’s smash-hit ITV comedy Benidorm is set to bring sunshine and smiles to the UK and Ireland in the stage debut production of the hugely popular TV show.

ITV’s award-winning comedy celebrates over a decade of all-inclusive hilarity, having followed the ensemble cast of holiday makers and staff for ten series since it first broadcast in 2007. Litten has now written an all new set of Alicante escapades for the much-loved cast members as they swap sangria for the stage – after a quick spruce up at the Blow ‘n’ Go!

A dose of Benidorm sunshine with your favourite stars from the Solana live on stage for the very first time.

Age guidance: 12+

Benidorm is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 20th October.

Box Office: 0844 870 0887 or online  www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes 

I hadn’t a clue how the popular television series would transform onto the stage, but I needn’t have doubted it. With a packed theatre bursting with Benidorm fans, a set that worked well as the reception, poolside, bar and function room of the Solana Hotel! This with the added attraction of the same stars that appear in the TV series recreating their roles, the show was great fun from beginning to end. Good idea to have a 12+ rating as some of the material is not offensive, but certainly adult.

Ibsen this aint, but if you like Benidorm the series then you’ll love this! You’ll be lucky to get a seat though!

Benidorm is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 20th October.

Box Office: 0844 870 0887 or online  www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes 

Vulcan 7 at The Cambridge Arts Theatre “is Hilarious”!

Vulcan 7 is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday 6th October

This new comedy is written by and co-stars Adrian Edmondson and Nigel Planer.

Gary Savage (Adrian Edmondson) and Hugh Delavois (Nigel Planer) were students at RADA together. Now in their sixties, they meet in an Icelandic wasteland, on the set of a fantasy movie “Vulcan 7”.

Hugh has had a plodding career but has landed the role of Vulcan’s butler – a small but regular role – and he’s making his seventh film for the franchise.

Gary is a has been Hollywood A-lister who has fallen on lean times and is playing a guest monster with four hours in make-up and one word in the script.

Sparks fly inside the trailer as old wounds are opened and outside the trailer things are not going to plan either: the director’s gone AWOL, the catering trucks on the wrong side of a ravine, and the volcanic activity is growing more lively by the minute…

The cast is complete when Lois Chimimba appears as the movie runner who referees the constant tension between the two actors.

Vulcan 7 is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday 6th October

Box Office: 01223 503333 or go to www.cambridgeartstheatre.com

Mike Moore of Black Cat 107 in St Neots went along to see the opening night at Cambridge and these were his thoughts:

The show is hilarious and fans of Ade and Nigel will not be disappointed, the characters are totally believable and once the tension and history between them is established that takes the background as the drama of what is to become of them stranded in this caravan perched on the side of a ravine – the opposite side to the catering trucks – takes over.

This is a must see, if you enjoy the work of either of its stars you will have a brilliant night of theatre. But please note there is an age guidance of 14+ which could also apply to maiden aunts as the language does get a bit colourful at times! .

Vulcan 7 is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday 6th October

Box Office: 01223 503333 or go to www.cambridgeartstheatre.com