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The Cher Show - Royal and Derngate Review

It's hard to believe (if you pardon the pun) that it's been 9 months since The Cher Show gloriously burst onto the UK stage at Curve. Back then I described the show as a 'monumental hit' and it's undoubtedly grown and further strengthened itself.

Debbie Kurup as Star (centre) and cast in The Cher Show. Photo by Pamela Raith

The Cher Show features not only one Cher but three who all tell different stages of the life and career of the iconic Queen of Pop. Both the start and the finale see Cher in a dressing room reflecting before she's about to go on for a big performance, if only she could 'Turn Back Time' and tell us the story of her journey up to that point...

It's a whistle-stop journey through the years as each scene tends to move forward in time but Rick Elice's book allows us a glimpse into the highs and lows along the way, particularly in Cher's relationships which become much of the focus. The main being her relationship and marriage with Sonny and the tumultuous times they had together. 

The show manages to offer a fascinating insight into the star's life whilst cramming in some 35 songs along the way. The songs never feel shoehorned though and like a jigsaw the songs and the story fit together perfectly. 

Having the three Chers who often are all on the stage together is a stroke of genius as you get not only the main Cher but you also get the other two offering subconscious thoughts as well. All three offer their own uniqueness to the role and the character and like the story and the songs they all mold together fantastically well. Credit to casting director Will Burton who got the casting so right.

Millie O'Connell is Babe, the younger version of Cher, who takes us through her later childhood and teenage years and into her 20s as she discovers her love for music and begins the journey to stardom despite being bullied at school. Millie has an amazing ability with how she emotes the role, she is endlessly energised and always creates a small bit of magic whenever she is on stage. 

As the blossoming relationship with Sonny begins to turn a little sour Danielle Steers takes over as Lady. Danielle pours so much soul into the role and excellently portrays the time as work and personal life clash. There is a real poise and class to what Danielle brings and she has the most astonishing vocals that will constantly blow you away.

Danielle Steers (Lady), Debbie Kurup (Star) and Millie O'Connell (Babe). Photo by Melissa Hannah Sofia Cathcart (@thirdcoverbabe on Instagram)

After the divorce from Sonny Debbie Kurup takes on Star in the second act as we see Cher battle to keep her career alive and constantly re-inventing herself including a flourishing acting career and further relationships. Debbie is, to put it simply, astonishing. The emotions are poured into the role and she manages to nail every beat and vocally she is the real deal.

Aside from the Chers, there are some superb supporting performances. Lucas Rush begins as this warm likeable presence who ultimately gets lost in the pressure of fame and keeping the Cher brand alive. Lucas manages to balance both brilliantly and is always a bright light on the stage and the vocals are gorgeous. 

Sam Ferriday takes on numerous parts including long blonde-haired Greg Allman and second husband Rob Camiletti. Sam has a great rock vocals and sings up a storm. Jake Mitchell is a dose of glittery fabulousness as fashion designer Bob Mackie and other smaller roles. Tori Scott is great as Cher's mother Georgia, she is both staunch and protective and makes for some calm and measuredness in Cher's chaotic world.

Director Arlene Phillips and choreographer Oti Mabuse fill the show with high energy and cracking choreography. The ensemble are endlessly watchable in their skillful movement and presence on the stage. 

Design by Tom Rogers allows for a behind-the-scenes feel, as an audience member you constantly feel you're backstage observing the journey of Cher. Combined with Ben Cracknell's always dazzling lighting and Gabriella Slade's myriad of incredible costume designs it's a visual feast for the senses and befitting for the larger-than-life person that Cher is. 

Through all the highs and the lows, the music is a key part and it is a sensational soundtrack embossed by the off-stage band under musical director Danny Belton. The arrangements and orchestrations by Rich Morris bring a freshness to the songs that you already love and others you may not know. If ever a show deserved a cast recording it would be this production and cast.

Once the story ends the show closes on a rousing singalong curtain call that has the audience out of their seats and in a state of pure euphoria. Bursting away the post-Christmas January blues the show is a tonic that leaves you uplifted. The show deserves a life beyond this current UK and Ireland tour, hopefully, the West End comes calling. Staged and performed perfectly The Cher Show is phenomenal.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Cher Show continues at Royal and Derngate in Northampton until Saturday 14th January 2023 with tickets available from The UK and Ireland tour runs with dates booking until late March. Full dates and booking information from

Millie O'Connell as Babe (centre) in The Cher Show. Photo by Pamela Raith

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