Tell Me on a Sunday - 10 May 2003

I first saw this show nearly 20 years ago with Marti Webb and have seen the TV version with Sarah Brightman but essentially this felt as though I was seeing the show for the first time.

Tell Me on a Sunday is a song cycle chronicling the love life of an English girl who goes to New York following the end of her relationship in England. She ends the show still looking for love but optimistic that it is out there.

The Gielgud is an intimate theatre which is what is required for this show. The stage is a revolve which has several places on it - a park bench, sofa, airline seat, bar seat and desk which move around to depict the different stages of the story. Three screens surround the stage onto which images associated with the current songs / feelings are shown.

Denise Van Outen has managed to make the move to a credible musical theatre performer. She held this piece and turned it very much into her own. She has a good voice and was excellent in portraying the emotions of this girl from the cheeky Essex girl to the heartbroken woman. She conveyed a true character which was easily identifiable and easy to relate to.

Whilst I could not fault Denise’s performance, as this was the perfect vehicle for her, if there was any weakness it rested in the new music. The 5 new songs don’t add much to the score and I spent most of the time trying to think which other songs of his they reminded me of. They were all catchy and easy to listen to but compared to the original score they were not of the same calibre or complexity. Sheldon Bloom changed to Tyler King but not completely satisfactorily, speed dating could have been any generic song and whilst Somewhere, Someplace, Sometime is a nice song it is a derivative of the superior ‘Last Man in my Life’

When it came to the songs most known from the score ‘Take that look off your face’, ‘Tell me on a Sunday’ and ‘’Unexpected Song’ then Denise was great, as she was with all of the songs so any niggles on the score could be forgiven - well maybe !