Tell Me On a Sunday

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mary Fishburne

IT’S A SMALL THEATRE (50 seats), a brief show (75 minutes), and a tiny cast (1 petite actress)—but what Mary Fishburne does makes Tell Me On a Sunday a big triumph.

Mary is accompanied in this one-woman Andrew Lloyd Webber musical by Immanuel A. Houston, who lends his own whimsical style… sitting behind a fun New York skyline on the tiny stage.

But whatever else about this production is small, Mary’s talents transcend it. The sparkly blond takes us through the trials of Emma… a sweet English girl who fashions hats and comes to New York to live with her boyfriend… it doesn’t last one night.

Emma’s journey takes her through an affair with a Hollywood producer, a session of speed-dating, and a relationship with a young man from Greenwich Village—and during it we feel the joy and heartbreak each time her search for love carries her in another direction. And Mary is a master of taking us with her.

In this piece, because she is alone on stage, she wears every tingle and sting on her face. She allows her eyes and voice to betray her words… a complex and necessary skill for anyone attempting to hold an audience with a solo performance.

I liked very much that her renditions of the two well-known songs in the show, Tell Me On a Sunday  and Unexpected Song—which could have been show-offy and stand-alone moments—are just beautiful, tasteful, and memorable sequences in Emma’s journey. This artist is an “artist.”

The show is directed by Sheri Grace Wenger and plays through October 13 at Midtown Productions on James Island.

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It is with life as it is with art: the deeper one penetrates, the broader the view.                   
~ Johann Goethe