Review: TELL ME ON A SUNDAY at the Avalon Auditorium Is a Musical Journey of Self-Discovery

This production has a limited run from 24 to 28 April 2024.

By: Apr. 25, 2024
Review: TELL ME ON A SUNDAY at the Avalon Auditorium Is a Musical Journey of Self-Discovery
Get Access To Every Broadway Story

Unlock access to every one of the hundreds of articles published daily on BroadwayWorld by logging in with one click.

Existing user? Just click login.

Most of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals comprise a large cast and elaborate sets. TELL ME ON A SUNDAY is different: this understated, one-woman musical tells the story of Emma, a Brit who journeys to America to find a man and who ends up finding herself along the way.

Note that the role of Emma is played by Atterbury and by Regina Malan, who alternate.

This twenty-eight-song musical is incredibly demanding on the performer who plays Emma – in this case, Sean Atterbury. Emma sings for the entirety of the seventy-minute production and, as always, many of Webber’s compositions are vocally complex. Atterbury, with her clear, radiant voice, does an excellent job and embodies a delightfully optimistic Emma despite the character’s challenges.

Audiences will recognise many of the more famous songs from this musical but my favourites are “Unexpected Song” and “It’s Not the End of the World”, which are hauntingly beautiful, and the various versions of “Letter Home”, which are light-hearted and fun. The production is replete with a mixture of emotional and light songs and is accompanied by a fantastic six-piece band.

For me, the comedic elements of the show are the most successful and Atterbury’s endearing charm cements her as a heroine who we route for during her quest for love. Her cheeky expressions really make the witty lyrics land. Conversely, I would have liked to have seen her lean a little more into the darker sides of the character during her times of heartbreak.

Despite the fact that the production debuted in 1977, it has aged well. Director and producer, Jonathan Walker-Kane, and musical director, Alastair Cockburn, have seamlessly translated the piece into 2020s society. Indeed, the story certainly remains relatable. (Apparently the whole “nightmarish dating world thing” isn’t new – who knew?)

Ultimately, TELL ME ON A SUNDAY is a great reminder that life is not black and white, and that sometimes the beauty lies in the grey: that one should rather remain alone than settle for anything less than what one deserves but that, at the same timw, “longing for love is not a crime” (as Emma tells us).  

TELL ME ON A SUNDAY runs from 24 to 28 April 2024 at the Avalon Auditorium in the District Six Homecoming Centre (formerly The Fugard Theatre). Performances are as follows: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 20:00; Saturday at 18:00 and 20:00; Sunday at 15:00 and 18:00. Tickets range from R150 to R220 and are available via Quicket.

Regina Malan plays Emma on Thursday and Saturday at 20:00; Sian Atterbury plays Emma on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday at 18:00, and on Sunday.

Image credit: Martin Kluge


To post a comment, you must register and login.