Clune, who is currently co-starring in Taboo at the Venue, Leicester Square, spoke with lastminute.com/theatrenow after the Friday matinee of the Boy George musical. Sitting at a pavement café near The Venue, she was approached by several fans, had her photograph taken, and was greeted by an old friend. Clearly a lady with contacts — and charisma — she has been heavily involved in the new production of Tell Me On A Sunday, starring Denise van Outen.
What has your role in the new production been? "I've worked on the lyrics; both updating them and creating new ones for the five new songs that Andrew Lloyd Webber has created for the show. He and Don Black, the original lyricist, thought it would be a good idea to have a female input into the work — and I'm nearer Denise's age than Don, as well as being a girl!"
What's the main difference between this production and the original one? "This is much feistier than the original one, which was late 1970’s. In that one the girl was a bit of a victim in a way. Today things have changed a lot for women; we're far stronger. I think if an audience today saw the original production they'd end up shouting 'Don't be such a silly cow!' at the character!"
Denise van Outen doesn't seem anything like a victim! "No, she isn't, and nor, now, is the character that she plays. She's been great to work with, because not only does she look and sound great, but she's a wonderful actress and she really lives the songs." She was very impressive at the Press Launch at the Century Club a couple of months ago. "Exactly. She only really had to sing some numbers but she put everything into them, as if she were on stage, and it's that dedication as well as her talent that makes the piece so powerful."
The show's set in New York, and updated to today. What research did you do? "Well, she's been in New York a lot with Chicago, but one of the things we both did, as research for the show, was to go to a speed dating session. After all, Tell Me On A Sunday is all about relationships."
What was it like? "She went to one in New York, I went to one in London, so we have slightly different experiences. I found it rather bizarre. Some of the people there — men and women — were quite attractive, but overall it was rather a sad atmosphere. We both used pseudonyms, and though Denise was a big New York star, no-one recognized her! She used an assumed name, and made up what she did for a living, depending on who she was talking to. She told one man she was Andrew Lloyd Webber's au pair!"
Do you see Tell Me On a Sunday going to New York after London? "It's certainly on the cards; it would be appropriate given that it's set there, and they love Denise on Broadway. But it would deserve a transfer in any case."
Would you like to work with Andrew Lloyd Webber again? "Of course! But he chooses you, rather than the other way around. He's very easy to work with, he has all these tunes — and they're not just the pretty songs many people associate with him."
What comes first when you are writing a song with Lloyd Webber — the lyrics or the tune? "When I'm working with Andrew it's definitely the music first, but when I write songs myself it's generally the words that come into my head first."
What sort of Lloyd Webber show would you like to work on: one of the big spectaculars, or a smaller piece? "A smaller one — like Aspects of Love. I've always wanted to write a chamber piece — eight voices or so. I'd like to do something small-scale and rather darker than he usually does. However, I'm expecting my first baby, and I'll take a few months off before and after the birth — which is due in about six months — so I won't be writing it just yet!" Tell Me On a Sunday opens at the Gielgud Theatre April 15.