Review: Cheryl Martin: Who Wants to Live Forever? at Contact Theatre

  • A celebration of Black performance that aims to change the face of theatre, presented in partnership with Contact.
  • Presented by Black Gold Arts Festival and Contact
  • Northern Quota reporter Jess Stoddard reviews the show

One woman’s life-long love for Billie Holiday’s music, for the stars, and for her lost baby brother. Who Wants To Live Forever? is about camping holidays and friendship; about learning how to sing so that you can sing to the stars; about loss and memory, and turning memory into myths of Amazon princesses sailing the skies. About falling stars, and why we all love them.

The use of glitter balls and lights perfectly created the illusion of the stars and constellation on the walls and ceiling of the studio. Cheryl starts by explaining what stars are and how they are formed. Cheryl’s love of the stars is something that I personally connect with, as I always said, if I wasn’t a journalist or an actor, I would study the stars. 

The explanation of a fallen star is linked to those stars in the music industry that fell too soon – Billie Holiday, Amy Winehouse, Etta James – all left this world too soon. But as Cheryl states, they are up in the sky, and still looking down on this earth and shining. 

The use of integrated acapella songs into her spoken word and some of the songs of the iconic divas that have inspired her life in singing makes the show have a haunting aspect to it, which I did love. It makes you realise how many people we can lose, and sometimes it’s hard tp express how you feel in words. But you can express it through song – it is a realise for people, and can have more meaning and feeling than just saying it.

I urge you to see this show, as it will touch you deeply – even if you don’t listen to the music that is played. If you’ve lost someone in your life, it’s a very touching way for a reminder that they are still up there in the sky, shining for all to see. And you also get a cheeky cosmo in the show too!