REVIEW: Sleepover, Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society, Edfringe 2022 ★★★☆☆

REVIEW: Sleepover, Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society, Edfringe 2022 ★★★☆☆

Sleepover is essential for so many reasons. It is full of potential, representation, and honesty. All the questions being raised by these young women, sex,  body image, sexuality, friendship, and growing up, are all concerns most young women face. This journey of growing up does not exclude gender, race, ethnicity, or belief system, and theatre should be a space for all people to feel represented. Sleepover does that. It shows young girls that they have a place in the world. The work put into creating this is clear and commendable from a young and passionate writer.

There are some really promising moments throughout this show, and with some workshopping and character development could become a beautiful piece. This show has excellent bones and solid foundations to develop further, and what a lovely place to be in for the fringe.

While the topics covered in Sleepover are relevant, the show seems to cover a lot in forty-five minutes. Picking a few controversial issues and giving them time to shine through, rather than quickly presenting all the questions and topics that have ever gone through a teenage girl’s mind, would add more depth, and a clearer message. Too many issues made it difficult for the audience to thoroughly question and explore their own experience with growing up. There were moments of gold throughout, with Jenny’s vulnerable song as she shares a part of her past with her friends. More of this depth and vulnerability, please!

There seemed to be a disconnect between the age of the characters and how they were portrayed. The stuffed animals, “Sleepover game”, and fort-style set, set up the girls for being much younger than 17. There was still such innocence in these characters. At times it felt they were too young to address such significant issues. I reminded myself they were 17, not 14, especially when talking about pegging and losing their virginity. This dissonance made it difficult to suspend disbelief entirely. However, the overall concept was incredibly relevant. The three actresses did very well with the delivery of the rap. The diction, timing and commitment to delivering the song and the script were terrific. The argument between Jenny and Anita was brutal, frank, and played well by both actresses. The most endearing moment that reminded me of how young girls come of age to support each other through grown-up issues was the song sung in the round when Anita and Nina offered Jenny support.

From such a young writer, it’s exciting to see how this piece grows as its creator does. Beautiful concept and very well executed by all three actors.

Recommended Drink: A Pimms cup, fruity, sweet and never a bad idea.

There’s still time to catch CUMTS: Sleepover 23-28 August 16:30pm @ Just the Tonic at The Caves. Tickets are available through the EdFringe Box Office.

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