Quick Change Review: Tell Me On A Sunday (Tour)
It only takes one woman to perform one act, and completely steal your heart.
Jodie Prenger hand delivers a truly touching performance in the current tour of the Watermill Theatre’s Tell Me On A Sunday.
Over the course of an hour, we follow wide-eyed dreamer, Emma, as she navigates life across the pond in America. A true romantic, she leaps wholeheartedly into relationships, acknowledging and ignoring warning signs and instead opting for optimism.
This is a tale as old as time, and it’s very simple. At the core of everything, we just want to be loved without condition.
Photo by Tristram Kenton
The ebb and flow of her relationships are punctuated by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s timeless, melodic score performed live on stage by four West End musicians. We’re carried through the soft and tender moments of Emma’s life with joyful, soaring harmonies and cinematic choruses.
However, inevitable break-ups are pointed by angry strings, sharp lines and singular keys delivered in a poised, controlled temper that strike a chord.
Weaved within these tidal waves of emotion are beautiful motifs that repeat and change meaning as our story evolves.
These interludes include Emma’s thoughtful letter writing to her mum back in England (Letter Home to England), soulful anthems for self-assurance (It’s Not The End Of The World) and the bitter and anguished closing conversations on tarnished relationships (Let Me Finish).
All of which are delivered by Prenger with poignance and astonishing believability.
Don Black’s candid lyricism paints pictures for the imagination.
This is done exquisitely in the standout title track. Close your eyes and you’re walking a tree lined green path towards your ill-fated heartbreak. It’s a delicate number performed in a way that takes your breath.
With grace, lyrics mercifully request that a lover “come back with the same look in your eyes” and dreams of a ‘Ready Made Life’ as a stepmother. Whilst applying the same grace to comically describing the size of New York sandwiches and longing for an English sausage in contrast to the health obsessed LA and their Caesar salads.
Photo by Tristram Kenton
The attention to detail is sublime; from the lyrics to the carefully placed props and costumes marking changing fashions and season.
Paul Foster’s production is rooted in 1980s America, and David Woodhead’s design is styled with class. Amongst a skyline silhouette, we see a corner of Emma’s NY apartment. It’s an intimate experience complete with subtle but dynamic lighting by Howard Hudson that adds glowing warmth and helps to evoke the passing of time.
Prenger’s portrayal is one of elegance and she becomes Emma with natural ease. Her honeyed vocals drip with playful innocence and swell with hope, eyes glossed half with naïve excitement and half childlike fear.
Her performance is understated but really hits the mark.
Immersing into Emma’s world is a delight and Prenger welcomes you with open arms and an open heart.
This production of Tell Me On A Sunday is an eloquent telling of a woman finding love where it really matters; within. You’ll laugh with her, feel her heart ache, hope for her, and find inner happiness.
Tell Me On A Sunday plays at Curve till 16 Oct before continuing on tour