MusicalNorth East & YorkshireReview

Tell Me on a Sunday – Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield

Reviewer: Christopher Holmes

Music: Andrew Lloyd-Webber

Lyrics: Don Black

Director: Paul Foster

Originally conceived for television this one woman, one-act song cycle is the first collaboration of Webber and Black since the Lord’s departure from Tim Rice. It has been revised and reworked over the years, perhaps since it was written by two men who are speaking through the voice of their leading lady. Here though, they’ve really hit the mark.

The iconic role of Emma has been played by the likes of Bernadette Peters, Sarah Brightman, Claire Sweeney and Marti Webb. Here, to take the gauntlet, the titular character is played by Jodie Prenger who has an almost magnetic presence and is immediately likeable and engaging.

This ‘definitive’ Tell Me on a Sunday is beautifully handled by Paul Foster. His vision here is an intimate one. Set across a backdrop of the New York skyline, it has a Fringe-Cabaret elegance to it. The grand proscenium of the Lyceum Theatre almost dilutes this stripped-back production meaning that some of the intimacy is lost, but one can’t help but find Prenger’s portrayal of Emma an utter joy: strong, tender and believable. If this is your first trip back to the theatre Prenger and the five-strong band (under the musical supervision of Francis Goodhand) will welcome you back with open arms. Tell Me on a Sunday is no Sunset Boulevard but boy, do we need Prenger to give us Norma Desmond.

The second half of the program was a ‘talk-back’ with Prenger and her understudy Jodie Beth Meyer. Here we are treated to theatrical tit-bits, stories, songs and accolades of Ms Prenger’s glittering career. You even get to indulge in Meyer’s vocal ability which is both stellar and polished.

At the end of this performance the small but appreciative audience showed their support for Prenger and, as she exited stage left, she mouthed to her adoring fans “I love you.” … No Jodie, we love you.

Runs until 4th September 2021

The Reviews Hub Score

Prenger Packs a Punch

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Mark Clegg. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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