Top role tailored for ex-brookie actress
“Flattered and thrilled” “TV projects brewing” Ryan has Just Cause to panic as
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.”