I Need to Cher is a five-part induction course into why Cher is the most important pop icon of the 21st Century, culminating in a graduation ceremony where audience members ride cannons in little sailor hats and listen to Turn Back Time. Combining, drag, dance, wrestling, comedy, and an extensively researched power point presentation spanning six decades – I Need to Cher guarantees the audience to leave on a two day induced high.
Apart from earning Grade 4 knowledge of Cher, the show also teaches the audience the importance of acknowledging Cher’s unashamedly brash, honest and invigorating approach to life. She was the first woman to show her belly button on American TV. She survived two abusive marriages; has dated both stars of Top Gun; and claims that men are like dessert, an optional extra. She has had a US Billboard number 1 in every single decade since the 1960s. 97% of people who watched Mamma Mia 2 watched it only for her to walk down some stairs.
The list of her achievements is endless and continues to grow. If Madonna is the Queen of Pop, and Beyoncé is the Goddess of Pop, Cher is the primordial soup from which all life and Pop mythology was formed.
But as well as marveling at what Cher has achieved in her life – the show is about the love of fans. It is about how admiring and taking inspiration from someone should not be shamed, or dismissed as a teenage obsession – but celebrated and shared. In the year that I Need to Cher has been running, we have taken Cher to hundreds of people, but we have also created a space where people can be open about their love for an icon and embrace a kind of lucid, chaotic happiness.
The show began in 2018, when I, (Heather Bandenburg a wrestler and Cher-obsessive) was persuaded by my friends Sh!t Theatre (award-winning denizens of chaotically poignant performance art) to run a cabaret night. I Need to Cher sold out completely, culminating in a Cher-only disco until 3 am and was described as charming, incredible and totally unprofessional – the mother ship, Cher herself tweeted the cast saying that she ‘Got it’ – after this approval there was no stopping Heather.
In 2018, I Need to Cher packed venues across London, as well as the Cabaret stage at Latitude, and continues to thrive well into 2019. This outing at Camden People’s Theatre presents a condensed version of our usual Cabaret 4-hour bonanza featuring myself, Rebecca Biscuit (Sh!t Theatre) and Vijay Patel (Pull the Trigger, Sometimes I Leave), and a lot of wigs.
By Heather Bandenburg @ranabitesback