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24 September 2014

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First night - 16.04.03
Denise van Outen in 'Tell Me On A Sunday'
From Essex with love...Denise van Outen 'blasts the stage apart' in Andrew Lloyd Webber's updated 80s solo song cycle

A 'simply sensational' Denise van Outen singing some of Lloyd Webber's very best songs. Our critic Mark Shenton watches the birth of a major musical star...



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Tell Me On A Sunday (Gielgud Theatre)
It takes one Essex girl to know another, and for Andrew Lloyd Webber's reworked update to his 80s song cycle Tell Me on a Sunday, he's wisely hired BBC London 94.9's own Jackie Clune to help re-fit the show around the extraordinary talents of Basildon blonde Denise van Outen.

"van Outen combines the power belt of a Celine Dion with the lyrical sensitivity of a Karen Carpenter..."

Charting the romantic upheavals of a British girl at loose with her emotions in New York, the production benefits from the apt casting of van Outen, who blasts the stage apart with a performance of startling vivacity and vulnerability as her character bounces back from a series of crushing emotional encounters.

These include the relationships she has with a hotshot agent from William Morris who lures her to LA and then two-times her; a 22-year-old photographer who walks out on her, and a married man with a 9-year-old daughter, who holds out the promise of giving her a 'Ready Made Life' but isn't ready to give up his other life.

commanding authority

Van Outen is simply sensational (though it's sometimes difficult to believe someone this beautiful could be so unlucky in love).

Jackie Clune
With a little help from my friends...94.9's own Jackie Clune has provided lyrics to the production's five added songs

But she holds the stage alone with the kind of commanding authority that confirms the birth of a major musical star, and vocally more than holds her own against a score that requires both intimacy and intensity of delivery.

In short, she combines the power belt of a Celine Dion with the lyrical sensitivity of a Karen Carpenter.

This may be the smallest show Lloyd Webber's ever written, but the score (to appropriately conversational lyrics by Don Black) contains several of his very best songs.

I'd count among them 'Come Back with the Same Look in Your Eyes', 'Unexpected Song' and 'Nothing Like You've Ever Known', and van Outen gives them her all.

Tell Me On A Sunday is at the Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue W1 until 26 July. Tickets range from £15 to £37.50. Box office: 020 7494 5065

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