Tell Me On A Sunday
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Don Black, additional material by Jackie Clune
Nottingham Theatre Royal and touring
It must be one of the most versatile shows going around the country at the moment. Where you live depends on whether you get Marti Webb, Patsy Palmer or Faye Tozer in the one-woman show about the loveless young woman who moves to the States in her desire to find romance.
Faye Tozer joined the tour in Nottingham for her first live work since she was in the singing and dancing phenomenon Steps who dominated the charts for five years.
It was probably a hugely stressful experience for her because holding together a one-woman show is a major undertaking for any performer. However, she didn't show any nerves at all.
Tozer comes close to making the show a success but, surprisingly for a woman who starred in a pop band, her singing is the biggest disappointment. She moves around the stage well but you always get the feeling that she should have stayed a singer in a group; on her own she's too exposed.
Some people class Tell Me On A Sunday as a musical; others call it a song cycle. However you look at it, it has some really challenging numbers including Let Me Finish and Tyler King, the tune of which is also used for Who Needs Men? at the start of the second act. Tozer's voice isn't really strong enough to do them justice. Nor does she get angry enough in Let's Talk About You when she trades insults with a woman who reveals the truth about one of the hapless heroine's boyfriends.
The show, which was originally performed by Marti Webb, was revived for Denise van Outen. I saw her in it shortly before it finished its West End run. She was simply in a class of her own.
Tozer doesn't have the van Outen Essex girl aura of charming mischievousness and you don't feel over-sympathetic for Tozer when her ill-advised romantic attachments go wrong. Surprisingly the blonde locks she had when she was in Steps and in the pre-show publicity have gone. She's now darker and less striking visually (to avoid comparison with van Outen?).
Tozer though shines during Ready Made Life/I'm Very You, a fairly lightweight song which is well within her capabilities and she seems more comfortable with the second half as she settles into her character.
The magnificent set is the same one which graced the West End, a revolving stage featuring a settee, aeroplane seat, apartment desk, barstool, sun lounger and park bench which move into place with each song. Locations including Hollywood hills and an art gallery are projected onto the back and side walls as the young woman's romantic liaisons take her to different venues.
The band led by Robert Chalmers are excellent and the sound is well balanced, giving Tozer exactly the support she needs.
She trained as a dancer but now she has to sing and act in a role that was created for someone else. It's a huge test. Tozer doesn't have the power nor vocal range to make it an unqualified triumph. But she gives her all and you can't ask any more than that.
"Tell Me on a Sunday" tours to Hull, Edinburgh, Bristol, Eastbourne, Southend, Darlington, Woking, Liverpool, Milton Keynes, Wolverhampton, Sheffield, Glasgow, Tunbridge Wells, Stoke-on-Trent, Cardiff and Belfast until August 7th
Reviewer: Steve Orme