Tell Me On A Sunday: A One Woman Musical

Tell Me On A Sunday will not be a hard sell for those already acquainted with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s work but I do feel this musical production is particularly accessible and one that can be easily enjoyed by all.  Directed by David Coddington, this one woman musical is performed by a cast of one and made up of a one-act song cycle which showcases music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Don Black.

We follow an ordinary English girl from Muswell Hill who journeys to the United States in search of love.  Her romantic aspirations starts off in the Big Apple, then to Hollywood and eventually back to Manhattan.  The story of her quest for love which turn out to be more of romantic misadventures is told entirely through song as a monologue but also in the form of letters to Mum.

Carly Binding, contemporary pop singer and songwriter, makes her musical debut and is perfectly cast as the “woman of the hour”.  She commands the attention of the audience effortlessly with not only her beautiful tone and stunning range but charismatic personality as well.

Her performance was simply mesmerizing; she is both an accomplished vocalist and gifted storyteller.  She moves from one song to the next with great ease and I thought she interpreted the songs remarkably; with honesty and heartfelt conviction.  My favorite performance of the night was Unexpected Song – the emotion she delivers in this song is incredible and sent chills up my spine.

The accompanying costume changes to signify the passing of time were executed well and added a dynamic layer to the performance.  Carly made full use of the set which is minimal but beautiful with everything on stage having a purpose.  Mention must also be made on the excellent lighting design which set the mood and ambiance perfectly.

Musical director Robin Kelly once again doesn’t disappoint, working his magic with an extremely talented band who bring the score to life and support Carly’s vocal performance beautifully.  The three backing singers also added great depth to the overall sound; their harmonies had just enough restraint and blended well with Carly’s vocals.

Overall this is an outstanding, top notch production which ticked all the boxes for me and left me wanting more.  If you enjoy musical theatre, this one’s for you.

The Whimsical Banana rates Tell Me On A Sunday: 5/5 bananas

Tell Me On A Sunday is presented by The Real Theatre Company and is playing at the Loft at Q until 24 November.  To buy tickets and to get a taste of the music, click here.

This review is also featured on the Q website.

The Red Chair: Obsess + Confess

On entering the Loft at Q, I was immediately transported to some sophisticated piano bar in the heart of New York.  The mood lighting and theatrical fog created a dramatic effect and a sense of  mystery while the cabaret-style seating and gorgeous fairy lights served as the perfect backdrop for what was to come.  Expectations were definitely high and I’m pleased to say I was not disappointed in the slightest.

The Red Chair, under the superb direction of Aaron Tindell, is music theatre like no other.  Four characters – an older man, his cynical long-time lover, a younger guy skeptical about love and a younger woman with a troubled past – all share their stories candidly and emotively through song.

The songs – everything from Edith Piaf to Boy George – form a musical montage of the many romantic and sometimes obsessive emotions one experiences when dealing with love.  Every song transitions seamlessly to the next cultivating in a beautiful and colorful  journey of music which tackle an array of things – unrequited love, lust, jealousy and even a nervous breakdown.

What makes the show truly unique is how the performance is presented.  The red chair that is in the center of the room leads you to believe that that is where the “stage” is but there really isn’t a stage.  Instead the entire space is the stage with the performers freely roaming the room and mingling with audience members, even sitting at other specially lit red chairs that are placed at selected tables.

This blurring of the lines between the audience and the performer provides a very intimate and immersive theatre experience.  You find yourself having a more personal connection with the performers and because of the closeness in proximity, it does feel like you are a part of the performance as well.

I was blown away by the vocal prowess of each performer.  Andrew Laing’s vocals had a wonderful charm and storytelling quality to it that made him so easy to listen to.  Roz Turnbull effortlessly commanded your attention every time she sang.  What I loved most about her performance was the way she fully embodied the song, delivering not only a fantastic vocal but one with loads of personality too.

Melissa Nordhaus impressed me the most with her incredible vocal range and I loved the honest and heartfelt way she interpreted the songs.  My favorite of the four was Will Barling because of his silky tone and that beautiful vibrato.  His rendition of Petrified from the stage musical Taboo sent chills up my spine; my favorite number of the night, hands down.

The Red Chair was just spectacular and truly a magical experience, one I will not soon forget.  It is live music at its finest – a must for those who want to enjoy music theatre with a twist.  Exquisite performances, extraordinary storytelling through song, and an excellent band who bring it all together – huge hats off to Robin Kelly for providing the musical heartbeat to the show.

The Whimsical Banana rates The Red Chair: 5/5 bananas!

The Red Chair is a Dionysos production and is playing at the fabulous Q Theatre until 6th October.  To buy tickets, click here.

Thank you to Passion PR!

This review is also featured on Keeping up with NZ.