Top role tai­lored for ex-brookie ac­tress

“Flat­tered and thrilled” “TV projects brew­ing” Ryan has Just Cause to panic as

Evening Express (City Final) - The Guide - - ARTS AND STAGE - By Gareth Alexan­der

THINK Sex and the City ... but with fan­tas­tic mu­sic. Which is about as suc­cinct a sum­ming up of Tell Me On A Sun­day as you’ll get. And the fact that it’s com­ing from Claire Sweeney just adds weight to the de­scrip­tion. Af­ter all, she’s tour­ing the coun­try as the star of Andrew Lloyd Web­ber and Don Black’s clas­sic mu­si­cal af­ter it was re­worked es­pe­cially for her and her Liver­pool roots. “It’s one of Lloyd Web­ber’s most beau­ti­ful scores, said Claire, who ar­rives at His Majesty’s with the show next week. “It’s one woman’s story of look­ing for love in all the wrong places, so it’s kind of a Sex and the City with mu­sic. “She goes from one dis­as­trous re­la­tion­ship into an­other one that’s worse and the whole piece is glued to­gether by her send­ing e-mails home to her mother.” And the story also acts as a frame­work to hang some clas­sic songs on – such as Take That Look Off Your Face, Un­ex­pected Song and Tell Me On A Sun­day. nice. They have made it more about Mersey­side, with ref­er­ences to Liver­pool. I was re­ally flat­tered and thrilled.” The show started as a TV spe­cial for Marti Webb, but took on a life out­side the box in mu­si­cal theatre. Over the years, the iconic role of The Girl has been tack­led by the likes of Sarah Bright­man, Lulu, and Denise Van Outen. Claire said: “I have al­ways

Last year’s 24-hour pro­duc­tion of well-known mu­si­cal Grease was an ideal choice.

Jbeen a fan of the show and I was ac­tu­ally of­fered it 10 years ago in the West End but couldn’t do it be­cause of other work com­mit­ments. “But it’s lovely that it’s come along again.” Claire said the en­dur­ing ap­peal of the show lies in its stun­ning score and witty lyrics. “Good work stands the test of time,” she said. But while the au­di­ence are en­joy­ing them­selves they should spare a thought for Claire, who is a fa­mil­iar face on TV through shows like Loose Women, Big Brother and Strictly Come Dancing. Tell Me On A Sun­day is, in ef­fect, a one woman show. She’s on stage alone – apart from the five-piece band – for the whole two hours. It’s a big ask, but Claire, who has starred in West End stage mu­si­cals such as Chicago and Guys And Dolls, takes it in her stride. “It’s me on my own so I nowhere to hide re­ally but UST how much can you achieve in 24 hours? Well, if you’re Ryan Peacock, co-founder of Just Cause theatre group, you can take on the un­en­vi­able task of putting on a whole play from scratch for the 24-Hour Mu­si­cal at the Arts Cen­tre. Ryan said: “On the Fri­day night we start to ar­rive from 6pm and at 7pm we an­nounce the show. “From 7pm to 7.30pm the cast have a warm up, then we very quickly cast the show. The tech­ni­cal crew think about what they’re go­ing to do, then at 7.30 re­hearsals start and it gen­er­ally all kicks off. “On the Satur­day af­ter­noon, about 2pm, ev­ery­one comes to­gether to run the show. At 7.30pm ev­ery­one crosses their fin­gers and prays!” And the au­di­ence has also been kept in the dark about what is to be per­formed. But Ryan said choos­ing the right play – such as last year’s suc­cess, Grease – was cru­cial to the whole thing. “One of the most dif­fi­cult jobs is pick­ing the show we’re go­ing to do,” he said. “Just think if ev­ery­body hated it or it didn’t work. You are think­ing about the time con­straints, what’s fea­si­ble to be done in terms of set or the amount of singing. “You’re try­ing to pick a show peo­ple are go­ing to have heard of, be­cause the learn­ing of that stuff is re­ally easy.” De­spite ad­mit­ting he’s “pan­icked”, he said he was “re­ally, re­ally ex­cited” – and he has ev­ery rea­son to be, as this will be the first 24-Hour Mu­si­cal Ryan will di­rect, usu­ally choos­ing to per­form. Al­though he has di­rected pre­vi­ous shows – in­clud­ing last

There is a new song as well, called Dreams Never Run On Time. “It’s gor­geous, it’s a beau­ti­ful song,” said Claire, who be­came a house­hold name as Lind­say Corkhill in Brook­side. “What’s nice is that they have tai­lored the show to­wards me be­ing a Liver­pool girl, which is quite GIRL GANG: The stars of Sex and the City. GOS­SIP: Some of Claire’s Loose Women co-hosts. I’ve got used to it be­cause I’ve been do­ing it for nearly a year now. “You just look af­ter your­self and make sure you are in pretty good con­di­tion – and look af­ter the voice.” Claire even en­joys the tour­ing in­volved in the show. “I am look­ing for­ward to Aberdeen be­cause I’ve never been there and don’t know what to ex­pect. “But Aberdeen is the fi­nal des­ti­na­tion on my tour, so I will be say­ing farewell to the show there. “Af­ter that I will have four weeks off, which will be gor­geous.” And af­ter her break Claire is head­ing back into the world of mu­si­cal theatre – play­ing Paulette in the tour­ing ver­sion of West End smash Legally Blonde. But she won’t be com­ing to Aberdeen when the pro­duc­tion ar­rives in May. “I’m only do­ing a two-month stint on it be­cause it co­in­cides with other work, but I’m look­ing for­ward to it,” said Claire. “I saw it in the West End and thought, I just had to play that part. It’s not a lead­ing role, but it’s a smash­ing part in an up­beat lively mu­si­cal – a com­plete con­trast to Tell Me On A Sun­day.” Claire also hopes to stay busy with some TV projects brew­ing for next year – but she’s staying tightlipped about them for the time be­ing. “I’m hop­ing they will get off the ground be­cause I’ll have a good year of theatre this year so it will be nice if some­thing hap­pens next year for tele­vi­sion,” she said. So, given she moves ef­fort­lessly be­tween telly and the stage, what does Claire ac­tu­ally pre­fer? “You can­not beat the buzz of live theatre, I just love it.”


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