Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Tell me on a Sunday – Theatre Royal, Brighton

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics: Don Black
Director: Tamara Harvey
Reviewer: Gina Skillings

Tell me on a Sunday charts the romantic misadventures of a young English girl (Laura) in New York. Brimming with optimism, she seeks success and love. But as is the way with life, nothing seems to work out in the way that she hopes, and with each relationship turning into a disaster, she is forced to keep starting from the beginning again whilst pushing aside her doubts and insecurities.

Remodelled for Claire Sweeney to incorporate the nuances of the liverpudlian accent and the moving times and with a new song Dreams Never Run On Time, this will be the 4th incarnation of ‘Tell me on a Sunday’ and Laura (Sweeney) telling her story of failure and success. It’s not a long show with a running time of just over an hour, but with only the one performer this is not surprising.

Being slightly dubious about a musical with only one person in it, it was a pleasant surprise to find this show engaging and enjoyable. The set was used to full potential and with constant movement and continuous costume changes it was not uninteresting to watch or stagnant in any way. Claire Sweeny does a lovely job portraying the unlucky in love Laura. Her upbeat personality and sense of spirit really shine through into the character and make her immediately likeable. Its no mean feat holding the attention of an audience with no one else supporting you and with 27 songs back to back she certainly has her work cut out but it all seems to work and I was in no doubt of what the story was all about. On occasion the singing did sound slightly nasally and reminiscent of Cilla Black in her hey day and she seemed to struggle a little with the lower notes but all in all she held her own and has a surprisingly good singing voice.

The small re-writes that have clearly been introduced for Claire Sweeny were really amusing and I think most people, well women anyway, in the audience could relate to at least one experience as we follow Laura’s story.

With favourites like ‘Take that look off your face’ and ‘Tell me on a Sunday’ within the score and a surprisingly good performance by Claire Sweeny, this makes for an enjoyable night out, and with such a short running time you leave feeling you have had a good night without being saturated in musical theatre.

Runs until the 5th March 2011
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