Cilla and the Shades of the 60s comes to the North-East later this year. What'sOn spoke to the star of the show, Victoria Jones.

When did you discover the music of Cilla Black?

Although I grew up in Liverpool, I never had the opportunity of meeting Cilla, but my aunt said she used to see her out and about in the early days. I first got to know Cilla as a TV presenter and it wasn’t until I was in my teens that I heard her music for the first time and was blown away by her vocal range and her passion. The way she sang ballads was just beautiful; she was great at portraying heartbreak and emotion; I find her so moving to listen to and I’m constantly inspired by her passion and her approach to the music.

What do you enjoy most about performing Cilla and the Shades of the 60s?

I’ve always adored 60s music; the songs of that era had such a raw sound which I love. I really think I was born in the wrong decade! Performing as Cilla gives me the opportunity to celebrate the fashion and sound of a generation of women who were beginning to make a real difference in the music industry and across the world. There was an explosion of British female talent at that time including Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, Lulu, Sandie Shaw, Kiki Dee as well as Cilla and they were all having huge hits in the UK and abroad. And I love performing with the Shades; they are seriously talented vocalists and it’s really great to share the stage with them.

What happens when people realise you’re Liverpudlian?

Being a red headed Scouser I often get compared to Cilla... or sometimes Sheridan Smith! I feel a real connection to Cilla – she was also a bold girl from a working class background who just loved to perform. She really made huge changes for women back in the 60s. She could take on The Beatles, beat the big American stars with songs like Alfie, host her own TV show and made every ‘normal’ girl feel like big things were possible.

Which songs do you know the audience will join in on?

The biggest audience reaction I get is for You’re My World. At that point in the show the audience has been through quite an emotional journey and it’s a powerful number. I absolutely love singing it as it was the first Cilla song I ever performed. Plus it’s one of my dad’s favourites!

How did you prepare for your role as Cilla in this show?

To prepare for the role I watched a lorra lorra videos of her TV performances and interviews. It was great re-watching old episodes of Blind Date too. Cilla had a great sense of humour and we like to celebrate that in the show along with the powerful vocals. During the meet and greet after the show I love hearing people relate their own memories of Cilla.

Tell us about a couple of other shows you starred in before this one

One of my favourites was Catch the Wave Party in Disneyland Paris. As the presenter of the show, I was able to interact with all the Disney characters and perform songs by Elvis! Another favourite was the ‘Vampires Rock’ theatre tour. It was great fun rocking out with a live band and having fangs!

And tell us five things you can’t live without on tour

Hairspray, backcombing brush, a good book, fresh pineapple and Earl Grey teabags. I know Cilla always had a supply of champagne in her dressing room but I’m happy with a good brew!

Who’s your current favourite singer?

I love the raspy, powerhouse voices of Lulu and Tina Turner but my favourite current artist has got to be Pink. Just like Cilla she is very feisty. Her live shows are unbelievable, hanging upside whilst belting out perfect notes, she’s incredible! I also love Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox project – they take modern songs and play around with the arrangement giving them a vintage jazz twist and then post them on YouTube – I could listen to them all day. I’m thrilled when artists mix elements from different decades and creatively make them their own.

Will you be changing anything about the show for 2019 audiences?

I’m really looking forward to performing and taking the tour on the road again in 2019; I love it because I get to do what I love doing while being on the road with some of my best friends. We’ve had a blast together since we started touring this terrific show in 2017 – I can honestly say it’s become my favourite job since I started singing professionally! Each song is a pleasure to perform and as well as singing, I get the opportunity to use my acting skills as well.

My favourite part of the show has to be the ‘Blind Date’ section. We select a guest from the audience and they are always such great fun and good sports. I love interacting with the audience and celebrating Cilla’s sense of humour and cheeky charm.

April 4, Princess Alexandra Auditorium, Yarm School

May 7 Consett, Empire Theatre