Review: Tell Me On A Sunday @ New Theatre
We can't seem to shake off Tell Me on a Sunday.
Through its several incarnations as the original song cycle, its formulation into the work Song and Dance, or even as a show in its own right (with additional songs along the way), it has been going strong for the past few decades.
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black's one-woman musical is the tale of Emma, a young English girl, giddy with her move stateside and her unbounded love of New York. Her quest to find another half proves fruitless, as each man proves to have his own demons. Her attempts appear futile, until the "I don't need any man" train arrives just for her.
Feminists may rail over the character's dependancy upon men but will no doubt applaud her decision at the end. This being a one-woman show, you have to imagine each of her lovers in their own regard. How they each promise wealth, security and dependence, only for the cracks to reveal and the real person to show up. She puts up with a lot of unjustified nonsense... as a character she deserves more.
The show utilises the original song cycle as its basis and, because of this, has little theatrical merit. Jodie Prenger is a resounding Emma in any circumstance, yet it is the static nature of the show that can leave an audience a bit bored. They should use their imagination more to work with this format.
Songs should always be top of the list for a musical and these here are gems. Webber's jazzy, kurt and accessible playbill remains as standard, with the catchy side of him we know so well present throughout. Don Black's cleverly-poised lyrics are a real tonic to the show, leading to many witty moments. Prenger's Northern accent adds to this, especially in the Letter scenes to her mum back home.
This short and sweet show doesn't constitute a full evening's worth of theatre. So, after the interval, we were treated to a short concert with Jodie, as she talks about her time in musical theatre, her winning of I'd Do Anything and other successes.
With musical director Francis Goodhand, insightful questions were posed and she answered with her usual bubbly character and all-round lovely self. We got to hear her splendid Secret Love from Calamity Jane, a smashing duet with Jodie Beth Meyer (her understudy for Emma) for Another Suitcase in Another Hall from Evita and she ended with the tender Unexpected Song, taken from Song and Dance.
Tell Me on a Sunday must be seen for the star presence of Jodie Prenger and the delightful sound track. Some of my favourite songs have to be Take That Look off Your Face, I'm Very You, Capped Teeth and Caesar Salad (a hilarious jab at the residents of L.A.) and the softly-spun title song.
Warm, sharp and totally honest.
Rating: 4 stars
Tell Me on a Sunday continues at the New Theatre till 9th April 2016.
- Review: Cats @ WMC
- Review: Evita @ New Theatre
- Review: Joseph & THe Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat @ WMC
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Image credits: New Theatre website