Cilla show is poignant but a lorra lorra fun
- Credit: Matt Martin
Cilla Black's distinctive voice lit up the charts and her chirpy personality made her a much-loved television presenter for several decades.
So it's a daunting task for anyone to try to step into her shoes - but Kara Lily Hayworth does it to dazzling effect.
She won the role over thousands of hopefuls in open auditions and it's obvious to see why with her powerful, yet sometimes soft, singing voice and an endearing, likeable quality.
And her casting got the seal of approval from a key person - Cilla's son Robert Willis, who is executive producer of the show.
This is a musical adaptation of the TV series Cilla, which traces how Priscilla White went from being a coat-check girl at Liverpool's famous Cavern Club in The Beatles era to achieving worldwide fame as a singer herself.
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Hayworth has to sing 18 songs, some very tricky to perform, and numbers occur naturally as part of the drama rather than characters bursting into song on a whim.
There is, of course, Anyone Who Had a Heart, Alfie and Something Tells Me plus numbers by The Beatles and The Mamas and The Papas, which are part of the show too. It's a wonderfully evocative recreation of an incredible chapter in musical history.
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Bobby, the love of Cilla's life, is portrayed brilliantly by Carl Au, a real match for Hayworth's talent. In the role of Brian Epstein is Andrew Lancel, best known for his portrayal of Frank Foster in Corrie.
The clever design of the set means action moves seamlessly between the Cavern Club, a Liverpool sitting room, the London Palladium, Abbey Road studios and America.
The action was fast paced and time really flew by.
In no time it was the finale and the audience were up on their feet, dancing and clapping.
It's an extraordinary real-life story which has it all.
There's high drama, great music, a love story, poignancy, and a lorra lorra laughs.
Anyone who has a heart will love this show.