TV Review: Cilla

“The Black bird has landed”

It’s only taken me, ooh, a couple of years to get round to watching Cilla, a 2014 ITV miniseries written by Jeff Pope, in which time the small matter of Cilla Black’s passing has made it a more poignant piece. My main reason for watching though, its arrival on Netflix aside, was to finally catch up with Sheridan Smith’s portrayal of the Liverpudlian light entertainment behemoth, back in the days when she was just a Scouse lass called Priscilla White.

Pope’s script definitely has a touch of the rose-tinted about it but there’s no denying the amazing energy of Liverpool’s music scene in the 1960s that comes across in the first two episodes. Though she has a job as a typist – her mother proudly proclaims “the first in the family to be considered suitable for office work” – Cilla dreams of being a singer and is making quite the name for herself on the club circuit, building a following through club performances with upcoming bands such as a quartet called The Beatles. Continue reading “TV Review: Cilla”

Review: Hand To God, Vaudeville Theatre

“You’re so far back in the closet, you’re in Narnia”

For someone who really isn’t a fan of puppets, I do see an awful lot of shows with them in. But I should clarify that I’m OK with more muppety types (hence loving Avenue Q and more recently The Lorax) and so I reckoned I’d be safe with the latest Broadway import to hit the West End – Hand To God. But whether its Avenue Q meets The Book of Mormon or Sesame Street meets The Exorcist, depending on which poster you read, its firmly adult nature is in no doubt.

Harry Melling’s Jason is a young man grieving his father. His religious mother, Janie Dee’s Margery, has pressganged him into joining a church group but when he helps out with their puppet show, the consequences for all concerned are most extreme. As the sock puppet companion he creates, Tyrone, quickly becomes a conduit for all of Jason’s repressed teenage emotions, whether lust for Jemima Rooper’s downbeat Jessica or retaliation towards Kevin Mains’ bullying Timothy, the puppet takes on a manic life of its own. Continue reading “Review: Hand To God, Vaudeville Theatre”

Introducing Tyrone – the truth-telling sock puppet –

Hand To God opens at the Vaudeville Theatre next month, hot from a Tony Award-nominated run on Broadway and there’s a little hint of a teaser for you in this video, introducing Tyrone who is, as the title says, a truth-telling sock puppet.

Previews start on 5th February and booking runs until 11th June, Wednesday matinées are priced at a bargainous £25, and the cast includes the excellent Janie Dee, Jemima Rooper and Harry Melling. Also, how could you not want to see a show directed by someone as stupendously named as Moritz von Stuelpnagel?!