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What's On, Music, Theatre

We Believe in Cher


Believe in this Meta Musical Extravaganza


Cher is a phenomenon; a one-woman masterclass in talent, humour and ultimately survival – except for in The Cher Show, when she is three women (of course she is, she is bigger than a single entity, she’s Cher, b*tches).

Camper than Christmas, this night of Cher pays homage to the legendary singer and actor by telling the story of her career through her music. The concept of three actors playing the star at different stages works very well. We have ‘Babe’ Cher (Millie O’Connell) – young, gawky and so nervous that she can only sing when standing next to Sonny Bono. Then ‘Lady’ Cher who has become more self-assured and confident in herself, played on opening night by Ingrid Olivia. Finally, we have ‘Star’ Cher, played to the full Diva-max by Debbie Kurup. The three actors are on stage throughout, adding their own commentary and perspective to their younger or older selves, all with Cher’s distinctive self-deprecating humour and slightly strangulated tones, so often and so recognisably imitated. This is a woman who has been caricatured and emulated across the decades by countless fans. It speaks to the strength of all involved in the production that this doesn’t read like just another tribute act.

The story is touching in parts, but the outstanding finale ensures it ends on a high. Oti Mabuse’s ingenuity is apparent in the choreography, as is the vibrant and innovative direction by Arlene Philips. The music was…well, it was Cher, so it was great, and each of three Chers belted out their numbers with power and passion. Credit, however, is equally due to Costume Designer, Gabriella Slade, whose creations were satisfyingly ‘Mackie-worthy’ ie outrageous, spangling, sparkling and fabulous.

The Cher Show is at the New Theatre until Saturday, do yourself a favour, and book now.


“All of us invent ourselves. Some of us just have more imagination than others.”

A brand new production of the broadway hit, The Cher Show, with direction by Arlene Phillips (Saturday Night Fever, Starlight Express, Grease) and choreography by Oti Mabuse (two-time Strictly Come Dancing champion) is coming to the New Theatre, Oxford this week.

Arlene Phillips said of directing The Cher Show, “I have been a fan of Cher since I first heard I Got You Babe in the mid-sixties…I love stories about strong inspirational legends like Cher and this exciting show will be a non-stop journey of Cher’s rollercoaster life, bringing to the audience Cher’s iconic songs, glorious dance numbers, unique costumes and her epic drama. All they need to do is come along and Believe.”

Oti Mabuse said, “I cannot WAIT for audiences to see what we’re doing with The Cher Show. Cher’s music covers so many styles, genres and rhythms, which makes it so exciting to choreograph. Every song in the show is a hit and we are going full out with exciting routines and movement. It’s going to be a party! Cher has been such an inspiration to so many people and this musical is going to be a celebration of everything people love about her.”

The all-important costume design is by Gabriella Slade, who added, “Cher is quite literally a style icon. Her fashion moments pushed the boundaries of the time and continue to do so. I’m so excited to be taking huge influence and inspiration from these looks as I embark on creating the costume design for this new production of The Cher Show.”

The Cher Show tells the incredible story of Cher’s meteoric rise to fame. Cher takes the audience by the hand and introduces them to the influential people in her life, from her mother and Sonny Bono, to fashion designer and costumier Bob Mackie. The musical is packed with 35 of her biggest hits, including If I Could Turn Back Time, I Got You Babe, Strong Enough’ The Shoop Shoop Song and Believe.

21 - 25 February, Oxford New Theatre 0844 871 761


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