Theatre Review: Sleeping Arrangements - Landor Theatre ✭✭✭✭

Aria Entertainment Presents
Sleeping Arrangements
Landor Theatre

25th April 2013: Sleeping Arrangements is a new musical by Chris Burgess, based on the novel by Sophie Kinsella. The world premiere of this musical, directed by Robert McWhir tells the tale of two families -  Chloe (Jenny Gayner) who desperately needs a holiday, along with her partner Philip (Grant Neal) who has troubles at work facing redundancy. Her wealthy friend Gerard has offered the loan of his luxury villa in Spain so they take their 16 year old son Sam (Adam Pettigrew) with them.

Sophie Kinsella (centre) with the cast of Sleeping Arrangements
(l-r) Liza Pulman, Steven Serlin, Sabrina Aloueche,
Grant Neal, Jenny Gayner, Adam Pettigrew
Photo by Claire Bilyard
The second family, Hugh (Steven Serlin) is not a happy man. His wife Amanda (Liza Pulman) is constantly looking after their 6 month old twins, while Hugh barely has time for them. Maybe he’ll have a chance to bond with them on holiday. His friend Gerard has also lent him a luxury villa in Spain - Perfect. They hire a nanny, Jenna (Sabrina Aloueche), who comes along to help them on holiday with the kids.

Both families arrive at the villa and realise the awful truth - Gerard has double-booked. What no-one else realises is that Chloe and Hugh have a history, and as tensions rise, old passions resurface. It seems that Gerard’s ‘accidental’ double booking may not be an accident after all…

So that's the plot out of the way, I'm not going to reveal all, you have to go see it, and what you get on the tiny stage that is the Landor, is a musical that leaps out at you with a handful of tunes that blend really nicely with the story. The score is a real treat, and a small 4 piece band, piano, drums, cello and bass/spanish guitar give that sunny warm feeling from Spain, but aren't too overpowering so we can hear the vocals which aren't mic'd up for extra amplification.

Cast wise, I can't single anybody out as they all do a fantastic job, especially in the group numbers where the harmonies make your hair stand on end. Duets are subtle and sublime, and solo numbers have your heart racing with warmth. There's hints of Sondheim in some of the numbers, especially in the final number of the show, I kept getting glimpses of riffs that sound similar to 'Children Will Listen' from Into The Woods.

I like it when a new musical comes along, especially something like this which works well with the fine ensemble cast on display, all of which have appeared in many musicals in the West End already, from Avenue Q, Wicked, We Will Rock You and many others. It did feel a bit slow at times between the musical numbers, but the story has to be told... Something to be played around with I think. Apart from that, this show has huge potential, and I think it is just the tonic to get your summer juices flowing.

I can't say this enough - go see it! Support new writing, support new musical theatre, support the arts, support this show. Can I say support any more times in this review?

You will leave with a smile on your face and will be glad you have seen a fresh new vibrant piece of theatre in London.

4 stars ✭✭✭✭

Show: Aria Entertainment Presents Sleeping Arrangements
Venue: Landor Theatre,70 Landor Road, London SW9 9PH
Dates: 17th April – 12th May 2013
Times: 7:30pm Tues–Thurs & 7pm Fri (Matinee - 3pm Sat & Sun)
Box Office: 020 7737 7276
Price: £18/£16