Time for another review! On Tuesday the 25th of August it was off to the theatre again for another musical! This time, Sleepless: A Musical Romance, based on the film Sleepless In Seattle with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. I managed to get tickets for this shows first-ever preview performance as well as it being the first musical to perform inside since everything closed down in March!
The COVID-19 precautions were done similarly to JCS. We had a temperature check on arrival, filled in a track and trace and we had to wear our masks all the time we were at the venue, hand sanitizing stations were readily available. Seating was done differently, there were people in every row but there was never anyone directly, in front, behind or next to you who wasn’t in your groups party, it was all done securely.
This musical was a really fun and suitable for all the family. Whilst some jokes may go over the heads kf young children there was nothing too rude. Although the show was in a studio rather than a theatre (former Fountain Studios where X Factor was filmed, which lacked the typical theatre feel; the show had the heart and the joy of normal theatre production. The set for the show was really big compared to sets inside actual theatres. It had a big house set on a revolve in the middle of the stage and then wooden platforms either side of the side of the stage. I thought the 17 songs in this musical were really sweet and fun, I think my favourite 3 were: ‘Everything’ ‘The Things I Didn’t Do’ and ‘Now or Never (Reprise)’
Leading the show were Jay McGuiness and Kimberley Walsh. Jay is best known for being in the band The Wanted and Kimberley is best known for being in the girl-group Girls Aloud. Prior to this, they worked together in Big: The Musical last summer at the Dominion Theatre in the West End, There was even a nod to them both being in Strictly Come Dancing during the bows at the end! I thought both were really well cast.
Jay played the role of Sam (played by Tom Hanks in the movie). The grieving dad who hasn’t been sleeping since his wife died. I thought Jay did a great job in this role and that both his vocal and his acting ability were suited for this role; you rooted for his happiness and for him to find love again. I thought he had a really sweet relationship with Jack who played Jonah, his son. I thought their bond was really cute and believable. Jay also had some great songs such as ‘Everything’. ‘Time’, ‘A Whole Different Ballgame’ and ‘Always Looking Up’, Jay’s voice really suited each of these songs and their musical style. Overall I really enjoyed Jay as Sam and I thought he did an excellent job in this role.
Next, we have Kimberley Walsh as Annie (played by Meg Ryan in the movie), A newspaper writer who longs for love like she’s seen in the movies. She hears Sam’s segment on the radio and falls for him and his story. Although she is engaged to her Fiance Walter she can’t stop thinking about Sam and how adventurous their relationship would be compared to her current one. I really enjoyed Kimberley in this role, thought that it really suited her. Her desire for love like she had seen in the movies was so sweet and charming that you wanted her to find it. I thought Kimberley was really vocally strong throughout, especially the last song of act one where she holds a really impressive high note that just went on and on! Overall I think she was an amazing pick for this role.
Next. we have Jack who played the role of Jonah – Sam’s son. Jonah is the one who starts the whole ball rolling when he calls into the radio station to help his dad find love again and is the pusher in making Sam think about going to New York to meet Annie. I really enjoyed getting to see Jack in this role as he did an excellent job. He is such a talented little performer with bundles of energy which is showcased in the ‘Now or Never’ Reprise in act 2, as well as the song ‘A Whole Different Ballgame’ in act 1. As I mentioned earlier, I really enjoyed his relationship with Jay, I thought it was a real, believable bond between the pair. I always love getting to see children shine and Jack was no exception, I can’t wait to see what he does as he gets older.
Following Jack, we have Cory English as Sam’s friend Rob, who is firmly on Jonah’s side when it comes to Sam’s love life. The role of Rob is a really fun one with typical man humour that I’m sure everyone has experienced at some point. Cory really excelled with this role and I thought his singing was really good as well. I really enjoyed his songs with Jack as they brought a smile to my face and were super catchy. Overall I really liked Cory in this comedically funny role and thought he was another great casting choice.
Finally, we have Annie’s best friend Becky played by Tonia Mathurin, this was another fun role. Just like Jonah and Rob had a hand in Sam and Annie’s meeting, Becky also had a hand in it; she is the one who composed a letter on Annie’s behalf (not that Annie knew what she was doing.) and sent it to Sam’s house. Becky was the first person who noticed how Annie felt about Sam, probably before Annie even noticed them herself. I thought that Tonia was amazing in this role, I do wish we got more than one song though! I really enjoyed Tonia’s vocal style. Overall this was a really fun role which I wish we got to see more of!
This was a really fun and lighthearted musical that’ll leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, a perfect family musical that is guaranteed to make you smile.
If you like the sound of this you can be your tickets here!: https://imp.i108736.net/QmJEM