Sue Appleby has been an actress, singer, musician and vocal coach for over 17 years during which time she has toured the UK and worldwide to over 25 countries. She has performed in London’s West End, at the Royal Albert Hall, on BBC Radio and BBC Television.
As a highly acclaimed singing teacher and vocal coach, Sue has taught at several of London’s top drama schools. She currently teaches at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance and has her own private teaching practice. She is also singing supervisor for several West End productions and UK tours.
Sue sings with, and manages, London-based Jazz & Swing Band, Limelight.
Sue is also the proud founder of children’s charity Christmas For Kids which has brought music, puppetry and storytelling magic to children’s hospices across England since 2009.
Closer Than Ever is coming to PQA Venues at Riddle’s Court what can you tell us about it?
‘Closer Than Ever’ is written by the brilliant American song-writing team of Maltby & Shire. It is a collection of songs, in lots of different styles, which explore what it is to be 20 or 30 something, living and loving in a big city. We have set it loosely in Manhattan, with a bit of a ‘Friends’ vibe, but it will speak strongly to anyone who has experienced life in a major city like London or Edinburgh. There is such a wonderful range of topics covered – from heartache and heartbreak, to dating; from resisting affairs to finding your true love the second time around. It was written in 1989, but still feels fresh and relevant, heartfelt and captivating. And it’s very funny too! There really is something for everyone to enjoy.
How is this character different to other roles you’ve had?
I’m loving the range I play in this show – I have two solos which are completely in contrast plus duets and some funny and beautiful group numbers. Vocally, my role ranges over two octaves. It’s great too to be able to move from song to song so quickly and to immerse as fully as possible into each one – it’s good discipline! A different challenge from playing Dorien Green, which is my role in ‘Early Birds’ – that is about recreating a character that is instantly recognisable. I love the Fringe for the diversity it can offer up!
How does it feel to be at PQA Venues?
It’s really exciting! We’re off the Royal Mile which is a really busy part of the city during the Fringe, so I can’t wait to be there. I believe it’s been newly refurbished, so I feel very lucky to be part of the first set of shows to be playing there, and to be appearing in this rep season for Q Productions. I am also in ‘Early Birds’, which is by the writers of ‘Birds of a Feather’, telling how they came to create that brilliant TV show. There is going to be great stuff to see at Riddle’s Court!
Who will Closer Than Ever appeal to the most?
Anyone who has ever loved, lost love, found love, or given up on love! Anyone who likes a good melody and a beautifully crafted song. Anyone who likes a good laugh and a good cry all in one 75-minute show. Our wonderful director Alex Sumner-Hughes has directed the piece with real attention to dramatic detail. It feels dramatically very powerful, as well as being very rich musically, so those looking for a great piece of theatre will not be disappointed. Who will the show appeal to the most? I’d pretty much say: Anyone and Everyone!
What’s the best and worst thing about performing at Edinburgh Fringe?
There are so many opportunities at the Fringe – taking your own show, launching a new company, a new venue, to really stretching oneself as a performer – the Fringe really does offer so much. I love being in the atmosphere and to share stories and experiences with other actors, as well as having such a huge range of shows available.
The worst thing? It can be exhausting! It’s a gruelling schedule, working six days a week, and doing two (if not more) different shows each day. But I can sleep in September – I’m going to make the most of it!
What’s the one thing about Closer Than Ever that makes it different from all the rest?
I think the universal themes of love and finding our own path through life are so timeless and relevant, that it is almost impossible to see this show and not reflect on one’s own life, drawing parallels with the characters and their situations. The show is written as a song cycle, with no set narrative – no storyline as it were – so each song speaks from a different place and of a different situation. It is constantly changing, evolving and speaking of human experience from different perspectives. There is so much to identify with in this show – for me it’s a piece about connection and what it is to be human.
Closer Than Ever is at PQA Venues at Riddle’s Court 3rd – 27th August (not 8th, 15th, 22nd).