Sweeney puts on her Sunday best

NO stranger to the Theatre Royal stage in Nottingham, Claire Sweeney excels in her latest visit with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s Tell Me On A Sunday.

This one-woman show tells the tale of a twenty-something single girl looking for love, mainly in New York but with a brief episode in Los Angeles.

The production has been remodelled for Sweeney from its origins with Marti Webb and Denise Van Outen, references to Merseyside paying homage to her Liverpudlian roots. Emails have replaced the letters home to mum, which narrate her optimism and quest for love and success in the Big Apple.

But as she weaves her way through the maze of the city and her own anxieties, frustrations and heartaches, she begins to wonder whether she’s been looking for love in all the wrong places.

Sweeney is used to handling a range of demanding musical roles but this, with its quick change routines, strong and powerful vocals and various degrees of emotion, bring out her best. Webb and Van Outen are hard acts to follow but Sweeney adds notable acting skills to her own vocal range.

Quite simply, she gives an outstanding performance, handling with ease from her bedsit the couple of dozen numbers in this high quality score. Some stand out – Take That Look Off Your Face, which was a hit for Marti Webb and the poignant title song – but she is at ease with all of them.

It’s not all gloom and unrequited love, with plenty of dry humour in Capped Teeth and Caesar Salad and the switch to Scouse in the emails to mum.

Here, references to outings to Skeggy contrast nicely with a spot-on description of Manhattan and the American way of life (‘I’d kill for a Wall’s pork sausage!’) and optimism prevails in the end.

Tell Me On A Sunday can be seen at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal until Saturday.