ENTHUSIASTIC, energetic and effervescent are three words which would describe the manner in which Victoria Jones has grabbed the role of Cilla Black and helped showcase an all round entertainer.

The pint-sized performer from Liverpool is appearing in ‘Cilla and The Shades of the 60s’, which will be making a stop in Somerset when it comes to Bridgwater’s McMillan Theatre on March 1.

The show takes the audience on a musical journey starting with the discovery of the teenage singer, Cilla Black, at Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club and presents many of the biggest hits by artists who changed the world of popular entertainment in the 1960s including Cilla, Dusty, Lulu, Tina Turner, the Beatles and more.

Her success as a pop singer during the 60s and 70s led to her becoming the UK’s most popular TV presenter with her own TV show, ‘Cilla’, which ran from 1966 to 1978 and ‘Blind Date’, which ran for a record-breaking 18 years.

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Speaking about how she got into show business, Victoria said: “I always enjoyed dancing and singing.

"I would go to dance lessons and when we went on holiday to Majorca I was always up singing karaoke especially to songs by The Bangles.

“I have always loved singing and dancing so by the time I was 16-years-old I knew I wanted to be a singer.

“When I told my parents, they wanted me to get a proper job or go to university as I had done well academically at school.

“But now they adore everything I do and come to see the shows I am in.”

Victoria took a different route to breaking into showbusiness.

She studied at Southport College where she got a BTEC Nat Dip in Performing Arts.

She also worked at Disneyland Paris for two years, performing in ‘Mickey’s Show Time’ and ‘Lilo And Stitch’s Catch The Wave Party’.

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“For me this was fantastic,” she said. “I think it is for any young performer as it teaches you to be independent and mixes you with other people from different cultures.

“It is a fantastic experience to be singing in front of thousands of people. At such a young age it is better than going to university as you learn so much.

“It can be expensive to go to drama school and this is a great way to start working.

"It also means you can travel and in my case I sang a lot of Disney songs and in ‘Lilo And Stitch’s Catch The Wave Party’, I got to sing Elvis songs which for me was great as they were from the 1950s and 1960s.

“And I also toured France in a group called the Rodeo Girls.

“It was, all in all, an incredible experience.”

As a child of the 1980s, Victoria grew up knowing about Cilla Black as the presenter of Blind Date (her favourite show which she wishes she had gone on) and Surprise, Surprise.

It was not until much later she discovered the singing career Cilla had before being a television host.

She said: “Growing up in Liverpool, I knew Cilla as a TV presenter but when I discovered her music I was amazed by her vocal range and her emotional depth.

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“I find her ballads so beautiful and she portrays heartbreak in a truly moving way. Her passion has always inspired me – in fact I think I was born in the wrong decade.

“Her music is very emotional and you have to put a lot of heart into the songs.

"There are emotions which every one has like heartache or losing love.

“The songs are very emotional and there are no easy songs to sing as there is such a range.

“Performing as Cilla gives me the opportunity to celebrate the sound and fashion of a generation of amazing women.

“Cilla was a big character and had a very unusual speaking voice.

“I want to make my performance full of charm, as this is what Cilla had when talking to people, making them feel at ease.

“She was a very down to earth person while being a trailblazer as she was the first woman to have her own television show and the highest paid woman on British television. She was very strong and independent.

“I had such a brilliant time on tour earlier this year; I can’t wait to get out on the road again in 2018 especially as we’ll have the opportunity of performing in venues where we haven’t performed before.”

For her audition for Cilla, Victoria had to sing two songs, ‘You’re My World’ and ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’.

Following this, Victoria got the part and she was ‘over the moon’.

“There are some amazing songs like ‘Don’t Answer Me’ which is so beautiful and due to public demand we have brought back ‘Liverpool Lullaby’ back into the show.

“They (Cilla’s) are big boots to fill.

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"And when I am interacting with the audience it is all unscripted.

“The one thing which has happened to me as a result is I recently did a presenting job and was told I was very much like Cilla.

“This is very complimentary but it seems as if the part is rubbing off on me.”

“I have tried to do the same mannerism and movements as she did.”

- Cilla & the Shades of the 60s is at the McMillan Theatre on Thursday, March 1, at 7.30pm.

Tickets cost £19 to £21.

These can be bought online at mcmillantheatre.com or call the box office on 01278 556677.