A Royo Production
Venue Cymru, Llandudno
Feb 28-March 4; 2 hrs 10 mins
This is a glitzy, glamorous show, with the emphasis on entertainment by way ofa substantial portion of Cher's back-catalogue from the first dance routine to the finale.
Of course there is also a story to tell, a rags-to-riches tale of how a young, shy but precocious girl grew into a pop goddess.
The presentation is excellent in all respects. The set is blinding in its intensity at times, with costumes reflecting the fashion statements Cher has so often cultivated. The dance routines (by Oti Mabuse) are slick and energetic and the show, directed by Arlene Philips is fast-moving and purposeful.
Writer Rick Elice came up with a neat device to mark the passage of time and to portray the content of Cher’s thought - three people to portray three different Cher personas. Debbie Kurup is "Star", Danielle Steers is "Lady" and Millie O’Connell is "Babe". With Lucas Rush as Sonny, they are all excellent, but the standout voice is that of Steers. All three actors playing Cher do well to modulate and pitch their voice to be near-identical, and all in turn imitate Cher’s anthemic, heartfelt contralto voice really well.
As the musical progresses, some of the detail of Cher’s life unfolds. As her mother married eight times, (three times to Cher’s biological father), her childhood was typically chaotic but her mother taught her how to fight for herself in adversity. The prejudice she faced was notable as a "half breed" while young and as a woman who had to fight to get anything from life. Her relationship with Sonny Bono was complex – loving, but he controlled and exploited her.
The other notable feature is her celebrity lifestyle and relationship with the media. At times she courts press exposure – with outrageous costumes, for example; and at others she is the subject of overbearing scrutiny and pressure.
Throughout her career Cher has has fought to succeed, not frightened to reinvent herself when circumstnces required it. Thus she has been a folk singer, a pop star, a Broadway actor, an Oscar winner and a comedian, to name a few.
It would have been good to hear more about her political activism, her charitable work and her relationships with her children. But this would have wandered from the point of the production – a celebration of her life and music.
As such, the show is highly successful – and always a hit with her fans.
Tickets and information here