Globe columnist Peter Grant talks to Andrew Lancel who has a lorra love for the Chester-bound smash hit show Cilla – the Musical.

‘‘Every performance is like a first night,’’ says Liverpool-born actor Andrew Lancel.

‘‘This show really is a fantastic force of nature.’’ Star of stage and small screen, Andrew is enjoying every city, venue and standing ovation on his current tour playing Cilla’s mentor Brian Epstein.

It is not the first time the star of Cardiac Arrest The Bill and Coronation Street has donned the smart suit and posh voice to play the inspirational ‘Eppy.’

He starred in the play ‘Epstein - the Man who made The Beatles at the Epstein Theatre and in the West End.

So when Bill Kenwright’s show opened at Liverpool Empire last year written by TV mini-series creator Jeff Pope, Andrew was deemed the ideal fit.

"This is not Brian’s story but it does focus on his massive contribution to Cilla’s early career.

"And I get to sing.

"I have only been in one musical before as head of the Von Trapp family in The Sound of Music." 

He says he is very happy to be part of such a talented cast and crew.

"I can honestly say that there are no egos - including our star Kara Lily Hayworth who plays Cilla. We all have this adrenalin and we hope it shows from city to city."

Andrew is on the phone to the Globe from Newcastle – his second favourite place to his home town.

"What happened in Liverpool at the World Premiere in September was simply fantastic. ‘How can we beat that?’ we all thought.

"But from Edinburgh to Glasgow to Southampton the reaction has been unforgettable." 

Before the production’s gala opening (the Globe’s five star rating features on posters) Andrew was curious as to how it would travel.

"Whether it is a 2,000 seater or an 800 seat venue we all give 100 per cent and the audiences have supported us and loved this heart-warming celebration of a girl from Scottie Road who became a huge star." 

Andrew is looking forward to appearing at Chester Storyhouse – his debut there - next week in the sparkling tribute to Cilla Black’s life and early career.

And there is a bonus for Everton FC fan Andrew - a father of two.

"I can drive home. I am a dad of two so it’s great to be able to commute and see my lovely wife and children Isaac and Freya." 

Andrew, who was voted a soap villain of the year for his Coronation Street role as Frank is clearly enjoying re-imagining Brian Epstein again.

‘‘I hope the show makes it to New Brighton – that would be special.’’

Andrew says one date on the UK tour is Aylesbury which will be emotional it’s where Cilla played her last performance.

"I love this show and this company," says the man I once presented with a Scouseology TV Award.

Now he is getting rave review on stage all over again.

Before he gets ready to walk on stage he says: "Cilla the Musical is about a girl who went after her dreams.

"We all need a show that for three hours takes audiences away from what is happening in this crazy world. I look around each night and see people who want to be entertained with a feel good, true story.

‘‘It is a celebration of Cilla Black who proved dreams can and do happen.’’

Cilla – the Musical at The Chester Storyhouse from March 5 to 10.

Tickets are available from the box office on 0124 4409 113.