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The Cher Show at Birmingham Hippodrome Review

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by ABC Writer (subscribe)
Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
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Musical featuring Cher's music and life
It was only a matter of time before Cher's passionate and eventful life was turned into a musical. Aiming to bring the songs, the outfits and the drama is The Cher Show.

Cher show, Birmingham Hippodrome
Big costumes and sets in The Cher Show

For those fans who thought if only I could turn back time and see Cher's pivotal moments in her life accompanied by her key songs, then believe it, it's here.

There's a big team behind The Cher Show. Strictly Come Dancing favourite Oti Mabuse has done the choreography while it's been created by the writer of multi award-winning musical Jersey Boys, Rick Elice. Arlene Phillips is even the director.

On a UK tour, I caught the show at Birmingham Hippodrome where it stays for a week until Saturday August 6.

So how many people does it take to play a big personality like Cher? Well only three will do for this diva. Filling those shoes was never going to be easy, so it makes sense to have three actresses playing the singer at different stages of her life.

Cher show, Birmingham Hippodrome
Three women play Cher in the musical

They are all high calibre and from the West End. Millie O'Connell, whose been in Six, is the younger Cher referred to as 'Babe'. She's got the mannerisms down to a tee as well as the voice.

Danielle Steers, also a star of Six and Meatloaf musical Bat Out of Hell, has the powerful voice to pull off many power ballads.

Finally, there's Olivier Award-nominated Debbie Kurup, from The Bodyguard, as Cher in her latter years as 'Star'. She's got the most powerful voice and presence as Cher when she gets her independence and attitude. Lucas Rush is impressive as a realistic Sonny too.

I saw Cher in concert in Birmingham over a decade ago and what made her so spectacular was not just her voice but her wit. So, it's refreshing to see a large chunk of Cher's humour in this musical, along with her songs.

Cher show, Birmingham Hippodrome
The second act is a whirlwind through Cher's various relationships

There's the uplifting from If I Could Turn Back Time to Believe, Strong Enough and The Shoop Shoop Song. But there's also the romantic and vintage Cher to enjoy of I Got You Babe and Gypsies Tramps and Thieves.

It is ultimately a jukebox musical but has the sheen of big sets and costumes, which are by Gabriella Slade who was behind Six and the Spice World Tour.

The first act has more depth than I expected, charting Cherilyn Sarkisian's beginnings and relationship with Sonny Bono. There's much in there around gender discrimination and the trio of Chers provide each other encouragement.

Cher show
The early years include when Cher met Sonny

The second act loses its way a little, rushing through Cher's various romantic liaisons, movie career, Sonny's death and her comeback at breakneck speed.

There's plenty more songs but it gets a bit frustrating when only a few lines or half of songs are sung. It's not until a 15 minute finale of the biggest hits do you get some fuller renditions of showstoppers like Believe, Turn Back Time and Strong Enough.

It's a long musical at 2 hours 30 minutes with an interval and could have been cut down and a bit sharper and shorter but the talent on stage can't be faulted.


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Why? Cher fans can enjoy her music and life dramas
When: Until Saturday August 6, 2022
Phone: 0844 338 5000
Where: Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street, Birmingham, B4
Cost: From 27
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