BWW Reviews: SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS, Landor Theatre, April 22 2013
Best known for the novel and subsequent film 'Confessions of a Shopaholic', it is one of Sophie Kinsella's other novels that forms the basis of this new musical.
Chris Burgess wrote both the music and lyrics; as he explained, he "couldn't help but hear songs all over the place" in the novel 'Sleeping Arrangements'. The heartbeat of the story is the unfinished romance, the '10 years later when we bumped into each other' moment. With two families renting out one holiday villa in Andalucia, sparks fly, wine is drunk, sunburns are gained, more wine is drank and lots of sexual tensions rise. But the real question is, was the double booking a set up, or a kind of remarkable fate?
It certainly puts you in a summery mood after the miserable winter we've had in England. The cast are all phenomenal in their own right and work exceptionally well as a whole. Everything from the rebellious teenage son (Adam Pettigrew) to the overly stressed mother of baby twins (Liza Pulman) was played naturally and with great ease. The chemistry on stage between all of the couples was unquestionable. My favourite number, purely for the complete theatricality of it, has to be Liza Pulman's solo in which she dreams of being back at work and reminisces over her past 'superwoman' self. That being said, all of the singing was phenomenal and the songs aided in colouring the story more.
Considering how small the Landor Theatre is, David Shields managed to create a picturesque holiday setting, with the entire back drop transformed into a Spanish villa. Needless to say the simple beach clothing made me sit and wish I was on a bright sandy beach with a glass of Sangria.
It is rare nowadays to find a new musical that isn't just pop songs flung together. So it feels like a breath of fresh air to witness this original idea. Although there have been many book/novel-based musicals; 'Matilda', 'Little Women' and of course 'Les Miserables' to name a few, it's not very often that a modern comedic and romance novel comes to the stage. I think we should all relish in the ideas and vision of this musical. It may not have the intensity and depth of something like Les Mis, but I left the theatre feeling moved and enlightened from the score that came out of somewhat of a basic plot. I left feeling hopeful with a smile planted on my face, and isn't that what all new theatre is about?