Tell Me On A Sunday is a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black, with a wonderful original score, that features the chart-topping Take That Look Off Your Face and title track Tell Me on A Sunday, which has been performed by a whole host of famous names including Marti Webb, Sarah Brightman and Denise Van Outen.
This new touring production has been directed by Paul Foster, and it visited the Ipswich Regent for one night. It tells the tale of the romantic misfortunes of a young English girl in New York in the 80’s. The character of whom is played as a one woman show by Jodie Prenger famous for winning the role of Nancy in a West End revival of Oliver! after winning Lloyd Webber’s talent search on BBC1’s I’d Do Anything and continued as a successful theatre and TV star.
She’s a character that’s brimming with optimism, who is seeking success and love… but as she weaves her way through the maze of the city and her own anxieties, frustrations and heartaches, she begins to wonder whether she’s been looking for love in all the wrong places.
Therefore, as a theatre fan who’s a sucker for any story with strong female characters, the plot had sold it to me – and while it was a wonderful score of about 20-odd songs in an hour, which were performed beautifully by Jodie and the band, I just didn’t grasp the story. To me it was more a sequence of songs that didn’t have a clear connection, and I don’t know whether it was because it was one person and it was unclear to differentiate what each song was about, or if you needed to know the entire history of the show to understand it, or because it was never intended to be a musical- more an intimate song cycle, which it pretty much was.
There’s no denying Jodie has serious talent though, and it’s easy to see why she won over the nation when competing on the TV talent show of I’d Do Anything in 2008. As a regular theatre-goer in the West End and locally, it seems a shame she isn’t getting more exciting roles on the West End or in bigger touring productions though, as she could definitely pull them off.
Uniquely, the second half of the show featured an intimate post-show chat with Jodie about life, love and playing the role of Emma with audience submitted questions and a few additional musical surprises. Which included a lovely shout-out to the understudy, Jodie Beth Meyer, with the pair performing a duet of the beautiful “Another Suitcase In Another Hall” from Evita. It also gave you a few great laughs with Jodie’s warm and bubbly comedic personality, as well as an insight into her life and career. I personally think it almost would have worked better if it was like this throughout, switching between the music and chat – though I would have then felt it would be better in a smaller theatre.
Overall, despite it’s unclear storyline it was still relatively enjoyable, though I preferred the running of the second half, and if you are a fan of Jodie Prenger or Andrew Lloyd Webber and this particular score, it’s definitely a fun and easy night out that a wide audience could enjoy.
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For more information on the show, and to see other dates on the tour (including Peterborough at the Key Theatre on the 7th June) visit www.tellmeontour.co.uk.