Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s infamous one woman show is back and touring the UK in an intimate new revival. This one act song cycle tells of the romantic misadventures of English girl Emma in the bright lights of New York City. Through letters to her mum across the pond and conversations into the abyss, the audience is given an intimate insight into the thoughts and feelings of a young girl struggling to find love. A constant internal battle between finding the right man whilst remaining true to herself is played out beautifully in this short but well constructed piece.
Jodie Prenger is our leading lady and she commands the stage with an air of confidence and grace. Jodie plays this role with an undeniable ease; able to effortlessly convey to the audience a plethora of emotions as she takes us through the highs and lows of a woman struggling with love. As always, Jodie is vocally flawless and here she makes the music much more subtle than I’ve seen before. The production as a whole feels incredibly intimate and Jodie delivers the lyrics with an understated beauty that I didn’t expect. It does mean that the music doesn’t punch you in the guts as perhaps it has in previous productions, but this new subtle take is beautifully performed and very moving.
David Woodhead’s design sees a minimalistic apartment set in the shadows of a gorgeous New York skyline. It sets the scene beautifully whilst never distracting from the performance. I was particularly impressed with how Howard Hudson’s lighting design perfectly complimented the scene, casting a gorgeous shadow of the skyline across the curtains behind and adding to the intimate feel of the piece. It is always a joy to be able to see the musicians at work in a musical and this set beautifully frames the brilliant 5 piece band behind main action on stage.
The small band is brilliantly directed by Francis Goodhand, who brings this much loved score to life in a stunning understated manner. Tom Marshall’s sound design again, doesn’t overwhelm and is well placed to project from the stage only, again adding to the intimacy of the production. It works well in the small space and with such stellar casting Jodie is able to carry the piece with ease. I do wish the songs ran more smoothly into eachother, removing the multiple pauses for applause, as this sometimes detracts from the growing tension created as the musical moves forward.
This touring production is padded out with a brilliant question and answer session which follows an interval after the main event. The audience is invited to submit questions via text which Jodie answers in her usual loveable and brilliantly funny manner. She is so at ease on stage and her joyful energy is infectious. The Q&A is accompanied by a few musical interludes including a stunning performance of Whistle Down the Wind by Jodie Beth Meyer who understudies the role of Emma. We are also treated to a gorgeous duet by both leading ladies. This 25 minute bonus act provides a brilliant end to a fantastic evening – definitely worth sticking around for.
This UK Tour of Tell Me On a Sunday is a beautifully intimate take on a much loved classic. Jodie Prenger is exceptional and delivers the piece with a heartwrenching subtlety. She has the audience in the palm of her hands and takes us on a beautiful journey of love, heartache and acceptance.
Tell Me On a Sunday is at Leicester’s Curve Theatre until Saturday 16th October before continuing on its UK Tour. For tickets and information click here.
Production Images by Tristram Kenton
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