MALVERN Theatres is spoiling us with the premiere of two tours in two weeks.
Following last weeks brilliant ‘A Splinter of Ice’ this week we had the first night of a long UK tour of the wonderful Jodie Prenger as Emma in the glorious Andrew Lloyd Webber/Don Black classic one-woman musical ‘Tell Me On A Sunday’.
The action started outside the theatre when a jazz band dressed in striped blazers and straw boaters greeted us. It was great to see passers by as well as theatregoers enjoying the stomping tunes in glorious sunshine.
Prenger follows in the illustrious footsteps of Sarah Brightman and Marti Webb in this new production superbly crafted by director Paul Foster, but she doesn’t show any nervousness at all as she totally makes the role her own. She has an amazing voice and crystal clear diction – plus an acting ability to engage, enthral and touch the occasional raw nerve of emotional heartbreak that is part of our rite of passage.
Emma’s story is of the romantic adventures of an English girl living in New York in the 1980s. She oozes optimism and every time she gets knocked back down the rabbit hole by a procession of poor choice lovers, she dusts herself off, does a bit of self-assertion and carries on to making the next mistake with a beaming smile.
Emma writes often to her mum in England, who must dread getting the letters and reading of her daughter’s latest escapades. Yet you can imagine she laughs and cries with her. This is of course before mobile phones and social media made the world a much smaller place. By the time her motherly advice arrived by mail, Emma would have moved on to pastures new.
In addition to the title song of ‘Tell Me On A Sunday’ the show contains some of lyricist Don Black and Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s finest, including ‘Take That Look Off Your Face’, ‘I’m Very You, You’re Very Me’ and the hilariously ironic ‘Capped Teeth and Caesar Salad.’ All of the songs merge seamlessly into the story, commenting musically.
The set is an iconic model New York City behind which the fine quartet under the musical direction of Francis Goodhand sound like a full blown orchestra,
The show only lasts 60 minutes and that is perfect, every minute is a joy. As a bonus, Jodie Prenger treats us to a few songs and a Q&A experience after the interval and sings a duet with her understudy another Jodie, Jodie Beth Meyer. This lasted only 15 minutes and we could have savoured double that – but having already given us a non-stop awesome performance I will not quibble.
‘Tell Me On a Sunday’ runs at Malvern until Saturday before it goes on its travels across the UK – catch if you can – it’s joyous stuff.
Click here for times, tickets and more.