Five months since my last live review and theatre is starting to make a comeback after the Coronavirus pandemic.
Sleepless In Seattle was a 1993 film starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. One of a string of romance films in the 90’s alongside Ghost, You’ve Got Mail, The Bodyguard, Notting Hill and Forever Young, Sleepless In Seattle was a box office smash hit.
Telling the story of eight-year-old Jonah, who calls a radio talk show with his Christmas wish, to find his dad a new wife since becoming widowed a year before. Driving home for Christmas, Annie is taken by the conversation on air, questioning her own relationship and recent engagement proposal. Through a series of letters, Annie asks Sam to meet her at the top of the Empire State Building in New York at midnight on valentines day. But will he show up to meet the lady from the letters? Well (spoiler) of course he does!
The musical adaption stays true to the original film but cleverly changes Annies situation from driving home for Christmas to working as a journalist, chasing the story of the man, sleepless in Seattle. This was a nice change as watching someone pretend to be sat in a car for two hours would have likely been a snooze fest. The staging and set design is nicely done although the constant spinning of the cubic set became a little disorientating towards the end. There was also a confusing moment at the beginning of Act 2, where Sam goes for dinner and they sit at a table at the front of the audience where not everyone could see what was happening, whilst a perfectly good table and chairs already on stage, sat unused.
Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh gives a great performance as Annie although her singing at times could have used some greater projection. The Wanted band member and Strictly Come Dancing star Jay McGuiness gave an equally impressive performance as Sam, although some of his quieter singing moments were a little shaky. The legendary Harriet Thorpe had a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it part as Annies mother Eleanor, which was a crying shame as she shined in the brief moments she did have. Harriets rendition of ‘The Way He Said My Name’ was a real highlight of the show. The real star of the show was Jobe Hart as Jonah. Having already appearing in Big the Musical, School of Rock and Matilda, this young man has everything it takes to go a long way in the musical theatre industry and was a joy to watch.
Overall, Sleepless was a great first show to watch after five months of lockdown. It was everything I expected it to be, a light and romantic story with some nice musical moments and good performances. There aren’t many options for musical theatre shows to go and see right now and so if you want to get back into an auditorium, book your tickets for this show today!
Sleepless: A Musical Romance is playing at Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre until 27 September 2020. Click here for tickets.
Photo: Alastair Muir