REVIEW: ‘The Cher Show’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, August 2022

 

Let’s go! The Cher Show rewinds, reflects and rejoices in the knowledge that the beat goes on and Cher is strong enough to go on with it.

Lights flash and spin. A troupe of fierce dancers wearing black sailor suits covered in rhinestones executes a high-energy routine. Suddenly, everything comes to a standstill. The star is missing. Where’s Cher?

The icon is hiding in her dressing room, plagued by doubts. She is in three minds as to whether to make her latest comeback, having summoned her two past selves for therapy in triple time. Cher-apy for this diva.

Everyone knows Cher’s songs, but with six decades of stardom to track you might not know her backstory. The Cher Show (a refreshed incarnation of the Tony award-winning production that debuted on Broadway in 2018) combines familiar songs with a zippy, witty narrative for an entertaining and empowering musical.

This is not a tribute show. This is a star-splitting musical that sees three triple-threat performers represent Cher during different eras. Characters Babe, Lady and Star share the stage and turn back time.

 

Debbie Kurup as Star in The Cher Show. She stands centre stage, singing. The name 'Cher' is spelled out in lights behind her.

 

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REVIEW: ‘Mamma Mia!’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, August 2022

 

Mamma Mia! is an ABBA-fuelled, feel-good jukebox musical. There is no way to resist it and no reason why you should want to.

Knowing me (fan of dancing and musicals before I could walk or talk) and knowing you (reader of theatre reviews, which suggests more than a fleeting interest), when all is said and done: without a song or dance, what are we? Miserable! If the last couple of years have taught us anything it is that the arts are what make life enjoyable.

Mamma Mia! takes the pleasure derived from singing, dancing and making merry with loved ones, then amplifies the good vibes to bring audiences joy. The narrative includes sweet reminders about what being family means and how sometimes taking a chance is necessary. Really though, the story is just a vessel for the music, which is played live in all its pounding, glittering glory. It’s a light-hearted way to not only indulge the dancing queens and superfans, but also convert the miserable.

This undemanding show simply asks that you bring your thank yous for the music. In return, it lifts your mood with ridiculously catchy songs, dynamic dance routines and fun in the sun.

 

Helen Anker as Tanya, Sara Poyzer as Donna and Nicky Swift as Rosie in Mamma Mia!, leading the cast through a song.

 

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NEWS: Turn back time with ‘The Cher Show’ – Milton Keynes, Summer 2022

 

New musical The Cher Show will turn back time at Milton Keynes Theatre this summer to celebrate the ultimate empowered woman.

Cher (born Cherilyn Sarkisian on 20 May 1946 in El Centro, California) is a globally adored entertainer who has been releasing hits and reinventing herself since the 1960s. “Goddess of Pop” turned Hollywood royalty, she is known for selling more than 100 million records, winning all the awards going and remaining both eternally relevant and unapologetically herself.

The Cher Show tells the incredible story of her life and career, using songs that she performed throughout six decades of stardom. Theatregoers can expect to get to know Cher, the shy daughter of an Armenian-American truck driver, as she recalls how she stood up to the men who underestimated her, defied conventions and forged her own path.

The production features 35 of Cher’s biggest hits, including ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ (1989), ‘Strong Enough’ (1998), ‘Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves’ (1971), ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’ (1990), ‘I Got You Babe’ (1965) and ‘Believe’ (1998). Bopping in your seat and lip-synching as you read the song titles? You are not alone – a sensational soundtrack awaits us!

 

Debbie Kurup as Star in The Cher Show. Wearing a bodysuit and thigh-high boots, she is standing centre stage under spotlights and surrounded by dancers.

 

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NEWS: Be first in line for songs and sunshine with ‘Mamma Mia!’ – Milton Keynes, Summer 2022

 

Feel the beat of the tambourine and bask in sun-soaked escapism when jukebox musical Mamma Mia! arrives in Milton Keynes this August.

Mamma Mia! is set on an idyllic Greek island and features the catchy, chart-topping songs of Swedish supergroup ABBA. Really, what more do you need to dance, jive and have the time of your life?

The unashamedly silly story celebrates mothers and daughters, old friends and new family. Independent single mother Donna Sheridan is preparing for her daughter’s wedding, with the help of two lifelong friends from her days as lead singer of 1970s pop group Donna and the Dynamos. Bride-to-be Sophie is dreaming of a perfect white wedding – one that includes her father giving her away at the altar. The problem? She has no idea who he is.

Sophie has therefore taken matters into her own hands and secretly added three men from Donna’s past to the guest list. All in the hope of finally meeting the father she has never known and having him walk her down the aisle on her big day.

When the three potential dads turn up, Donna is confused and wants them to leave, but Sophie begs them to stay. Audiences can expect to enjoy feel-good fun as new love blooms, old romances are rekindled and many songs are sung!

 

Jena Pandya and other female Mamma Mia! cast members. All eleven women are smiling and strutting towards the viewer.

 

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REVIEW: ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ – Milton Keynes Theatre, April 2022

 

Anybody searching for a little bit of glitter in the grey needs to strut, stride or simply stroll into a performance of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

This colourful production is a lesson on how to shine as an individual. A celebration of difference. A reminder that you are a work of art. It energetically insists that you learn who you are and love it. And, by championing anyone brave enough to be who they really are, it urges you to reconsider how you treat others.

Everybody has been talking about this new musical since it burst onto the scene in 2017 – the gossip only intensified when the film adaptation was released in 2021. The gutsy comedy narrative is inspired by the real life of openly gay teenager Jamie Campbell, an aspirant drag queen from the north of England. His efforts to overcome prejudice and wear a dress to his school prom were broadcast in a 2011 BBC documentary, Jamie: Drag Queen at 16.

Life is a catwalk for flamboyant Jamie, but the dress is something of a metaphor for anything anyone might want to do. Even if you run away at the mere mention of a runway, you will feel like you can take on the world in style after enjoying this story of belonging.

 

Everybody's Talking About Jamie. Layton Williams as Jamie. Layton is a mixed-race performer with close-cropped, bleached blonde hair. He is wearing a light-wash denim jacket, matching jeans, a grey vest and red high-heeled shoes. He is striking a pose while dancing alongside other uniquely dressed individuals.

 

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