Bristol Theatre News

Cilla The Musical Bristol Hippodrome Review Emergency Situation During Performance

Cilla The Musical
Bristol Hippodrome

A clunky and uneven show ended in disaster at The Bristol Hippodrome this evening, after two unrelated audience members in the Stalls were taken seriously ill at exactly the same time.

In a performance marred by technical hitches, nearly every sound cue missed and lights with a mind of their own, it was just shuddering to a climatic finale when a gentleman sat off the centre gangway appeared to have a stroke.

The show continued to play, even when the House Lights were raised, leading to some audience members to shout for the performance to cease.

Staff and St John’s Ambulance attended quickly, the situation appearing to be serious as chest compressions were started.

Whilst the incident was dealt with, attention was drawn to a lady near the front of the Stalls who had also collapsed at the same time.

Prior to the incidents, the name Cilla, brightly lit in 15ft letters had been lowered to the stage.

The show was halted for around 20 minutes whilst two sets of ambulances arrived to deal with the situation.

Audience members generally remained seated, though for some, pushing past the incident in the middle of the centre gangway was more important to them than the wellbeing of the casualties involved.

When the show resumed, unfortunate timing led to a comedy moment with both Cilla and Bobby launching into the words Something tells me something’s going to happen tonight. Whilst the laughter broke the tension, it was clear the audience wished the families well and we hope the people involved make a speedy recovery.

As for Cilla the Musical, was it a play? Was it a musical? The pace was uneven, a bit like trying to watch a good Netflix drama whilst two other people are using up the bandwidth on YouTube and Roblox. Start, stop, laggy.  Songs, whilst expertly performed, fit in uncomfortably around the action. It never quite settles into a smooth story and scene changes felt jolted.

And this was a real shame because Kara Lily Hayworth was sensational as Cilla. This was no Stars In Their Eyes performance. She captured every nuance – her style, her voice and her spirit. There were tender moments with Carl Au’s Bobby and beautifully tragic moments with Andrew Lancel’s Epstein. But scenes felt clumsily sewn together in a bid to tell a history when more focus could have been placed on Cilla’s relationship with Bobby.

Neil MacDonald as John White and Pauline Fleming as Big Cilla, provided gentle laughs as Cilla’s parents.

But this is a show that absolutely belongs to Kara Lily Hayworth and Cilla herself.

Cilla Black was one of those National Treasures. Whether you remember her from Anyone Who Had A heart in 1964, or Saturday night’s here’s our Graham with a quick reminder, Cilla The Musical is a nice early musical anthology with a touch of nostalgia.

The show is at The Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday 17 March 2018


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