Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Tell Me On A Sunday Starring Claire Sweeney At Nottingham Theatre Royal REVIEW

Now this was a little bit of a tricky one. Claire Sweeney, one-woman show, girl leaves home to seek love in New York,  one of the shorter and smaller Andrew Lloyd Webber productions.... hmmmm. Finally, we decided. We plumped for jelly babies as our snack of choice and settled in for the evening's entertainment.
Originally conceived in 1979, Tell Me On A Sunday has undergone various updates along the way, but inevitably still feels a little bit dated and dusty, and all in all it's a rather slight affair, with a nothing little story about a girl who ricochets from one unsuitable man to another and has a bit of a cry, a bit of a moan to her mum back home by email (wot no Skype?) and the odd good sing about it. It's the kind of wet and weepy singing rom-com that threatens to grate the nerves of even the girliest of girls, making you want to yell out loud, for God's sake girl, take a break!
So this is very much a lesser-Lloyd Webber but nonetheless it still has elements of those very familiar Webberesque qualities of sentimentality, pathos and winsome tunefulness with its emotional title song and the more well-known hit 'Take That Look Off Your Face' And like all of his shows, there is something in the style of the music that chimes within you with its heartfelt romanticism and moments of upbeat cheer. But more than anything, Tell Me On A Sunday is really one of those vehicles that the starring performer has to absolutely 'own' as there aint nowhere to hide when you're the woman in a one-woman musical. Confidentially, Claire Sweeney performs pretty much as expected, she's kinda middle of the road and likeable, her voice is pleasing  if a little unreliable and tends to go a little flat with vibrato- though this may be first night nerves- and all in all she looks in great shape. But it's such a short, old and odd show that lacks any kind of whizz-bang-thank-you-ma'am razzamataz  that you do leave feeling a little bit empty, a little bit cheated and a little bit like you ate too many jelly babies.
Did we enjoy it? Well, it didn't blow our socks off but yeah, on the whole we did. Would we see it again? No. Do we recommend it? If you're a Lloyd Webber fan, for curiosity value you should see it. If you're a Claire Sweeney fan (and she's still in our Top Five Fave Celeb Hair) then you should see it. If you're a bloke, move along love, apart from the brief underwear scene, there's really nothing for you to see here.

Tell Me On A Sunday is  at Nottingham's Theatre Royal until June 4th

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