Review: Tell Me on a Sunday, Sunderland Empire

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A ONE-woman show it may be, but Claire Sweeney manages to imbue Tell Me on a Sunday with heaps of personality and panache.

She’s stars in the lead – and only – role of Laura, a single British girl looking for love on the other side of the Pond.

It must be one of the most demanding female roles out there: Lauras have to be able to negotiate their way through 24 Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black songs, swift costume changes and a gamut of emotions.

They also have to deal with the fact that Laura is not the most of endearing of women – she defines herself only by her relationship with men and is a bit of a sap – but Sweeney pulls the role off with ease and Scouse charm.

To ease the narrative along, there’s sections where Laura emails home to mum to tell of her failed dalliances with the ridiculously-named Sheldon Bloom and subsequent beaus including a toy boy and a married man.

This helps to get across the plot which – like Cats – is conveyed wholly through song.

The actress and TV host can certainly belt out a catchy Webber track and Sweeney’s voice shone in Capped Teeth and Caesar Salad and the more famous ditty Take That Look off Your Face.

She also mastered the more subtle, melancholy tracks such as title number Tell Me on a Sunday.

As the only character in the show, your eyes are glued to Sweeney who has to make every stage direction count and she manages to look comfortable as she moves around her cluttered New York apartment.

She’s supported by a top-notch band who, rather refreshingly, are promoted from out of the pit to a space above the set.