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Review: The Cher Show is a good musical but not strong enough to be a great one

Three people play Cher throughout her life in a new stage musical telling the singer's story <i>(Image: Pamela Raith)</i>
Three people play Cher throughout her life in a new stage musical telling the singer's story (Image: Pamela Raith)

Musical icon Cher is the latest superstar to get the story of her life turned into a piece of entertainment with a touring stage production, and I travelled down the M4 to the Bristol Hippodrome to check it out.

While musical biopic stories are becoming dime a dozen and at risk of becoming, dare I say it - one note, this musical extravaganza finds an interesting way to freshen things up a little bit by having not just one Cher, but three.

We are introduced to the three central characters Babe (Millie O’Connell), Lady (Danielle Steers), and Star (Debbie Kurup) who play the singer at different stages of her life, observing parts of the story, interacting with each other and providing an internal monologue on the ups and downs of the star's life.

Swindon Advertiser: Sonny and Cher in The Cher Show
Swindon Advertiser: Sonny and Cher in The Cher Show

Sonny and Cher in The Cher Show (Image: Pamela Raith)

We see O'Connell's Babe struggle with bullying, deal with the loss of a father figure and become firmly enthralled with her infamous double-act partner Sonny. We see Steers' Lady make the decision to leave Sonny and we see Kurup's Star struggle with feelings of being washed up, and eventually proving everyone wrong.

All three have the daunting task of trying to replicate Cher's mannerisms, but more importantly her recognisable voice, and they all impress and do admirably, if not understandably falling slightly short of hitting the same highs as the star they're portraying.

While the narrative choice of having the teenage, young adult, and older Cher was unique, I did feel that having the general story of Cher's life playing out in chronological order with the years marked by imaginative and varied stage prompts was a bit generic.

The staging was clever, with the set and ensemble outfits a monochrome grey, and then Cher's iconic looks were brought to life with a series of fantastic costumes accompanied by bursts of colourful lighting helping to provide some vibrancy and life.

Swindon Advertiser: Millie O'Connell as Babe in The Cher Show
Swindon Advertiser: Millie O'Connell as Babe in The Cher Show

Millie O'Connell as Babe in The Cher Show (Image: Pamela Raith)

But, for a show with two big Strictly Come Dancing names attached to it in Arlene Phillips and Oti Mabuse, I expected more from the musical numbers and at times found parts of it, particularly in the second half, slow.

But all was forgiven with a rousing, sparkling, finale that had everyone on their feet and dancing and clapping along.

If you're a fan of Cher, and plenty in the audience clearly were, you'll be in for a great time. if you're a musical theatre buff looking to check out a new musical you'll think it's good, not great, but you certainly won't be wishing you could turn back time.

The Cher Show is on until Saturday, January 28 and tickets are available here: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-cher-show/bristol-hippodrome/