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Previewed 12 March 2003, opened 14 March 2003, closed 10 May 2003 at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London
The stage show Cliff the Musical in London starring Mike Read. Devised by Mike Read, Trevor Payne and Colin Rozee. Directed by Trevor Payne with choreography by Simon Shelton.
It's 2020 and as Cliff Richard prepares to celebrate his 80th birthday, he looks back on his career as he waits for the guests to arrive. The cast for the stage musical Cliff in London features Ricky Aron as 'Young Cliff', Miles Guerinni as '1960s Cliff', Jimmy Jemain as 'Current Cliff' and Mike Read as 'Future Cliff'. Written by Mike Read, Trevor Payne and Colin Rozee and directed by Trevor Payne.
"Did you know that Cliff Richard has enjoyed 124 hit singles during the course of his poptastic, 45-year career? Or that he has had a number one in each of the six decades between the 1950s and the Noughties? These are just some of the fascinating facts vouchsafed us in this theatrical hagiography in which terrible jokes are scarily combined with unctuous smarm... And so protean are Cliff's talents, and so enduring his career, that it takes no fewer than four actors to portray him in all his glory... What none of them can conceal, however, is that the life of a celibate Christian whose only vices appear to be tennis and personal vanity, isn't exactly bursting with dramatic incident... The band are excellent, and there has undoubtely been some real gold amid the dross of Cliff's vast back catalogue. But the show, efficiently directed by Trevor Payne, ducks all the important issue." The Daily Telegraph
"It's hard to build a conventional biomusical out of Cliff's back catalogue. There are no died-young, Buddy-like tragedies or Elvis-style comebacks to provide any drama. Cliff has a vacuum-packed innocence that gives him an airless quality. His career may now span six decades (and survived Eurovision twice!) but there's no sense of a personal life or the world changing in his songs. His fans want him to stay incorruptibly the same. That's why Jimmy Jemain, a seasoned tribute act, gets the warmest reception as an effective facsimile of Seventies Cliff, and the show leans heavily on him." The Times
"This truly terrible show is for fully paid-up, hardcore, word-perfect members of Cliff's fan club only. If Cliff isn't touring, this, presumably, is the methadone fix that the poor desperate creatures must make do with in the absence of the real thing. But Cliff - and they - deserve better. There's no shame in a straightforward tribute show; a sing-alonga-Cliff, for his blameless biog doesn't lend itself to drama. Cliff, bless him, never trashed a hotel, seduced an underage teenager, had a breakdown or got drunk, even very decorously. So, what's this show about? It's Lord Cliff of Weybridge and his butler preparing for his 80th birthday party in the Keith Richards Health Farm by summoning up Cliff's career in virtual reality. Embarrassing, feeble stuff, punctuated with nonsense about his knickerlessness. My advice would be to junk the appalling script by Mike Read and Trevor Payne. But keep the band, which is grand, and The Shadows, who are more than shadows of the originals, and Cliff Three (Jimmy Jemain). He, unlike the other impersonators, has something of the quality of Cliff's voice and has at least bothered to mimic Cliff's idiosyncratic stamping dance style, the way he spins around with his arms outstretched, flicks his hair and smirks. Let them and Cliff work to a background of film footage of Cliff through the ages. I might even queue for a ticket." The Mail on Sunday
Cliff the Musical in London at the Prince of Wales Theatre previewed from 12 March 2003, opened on 14 March 2003 and closed on 10 May 2003.