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Review: Sleepover at Unity Theatre ****


Ever dream of being 14 or 15 again? A simpler time when life seemed to revolve around boys, bands, burgeoning breasts and - in the case of the characters in Sleepover – New Kids on the Block.

That's the world which Liverpool’s All Things Considered explores in what is an exuberant and utterly delightful new immersive theatrical experience. Resistance is futile – and participation is part of the fun, so plunge in and enjoy the party.

It’s 1990 (when, sadly, some of us had already said farewell to our teenage years) and fast friends Zoe, Vicki, Lisa and Kelly are having a girls’ night in where the only boys present are on the posters on Kelly’s bedroom wall and the clean-cut faces of Donnie, Mark and co beaming from Zoe’s T-shirt.

The audience meanwhile perches, amid copies of Just Seventeen and the odd Sony Walkman, on socially distanced single beds which create an amphitheatre in which the four characters unburden their fears and reveal their hopes and aspirations – every emotion amplified by the sheer fact of being 15.

Songs are sung, impromptu dance routines performed, dirty magazines pilfered for perusal, frank – yet innocent – discussions about sex are had, silly phonecalls made, and illicit booze is consumed.

Malibu and coke for the ladies on bed 3? Or a second sneaky Cinzano and lemonade for those by the door? Well, who doesn’t love participatory theatre – even if it does involve an all-comers game of truth or dare?!

There’s a refreshing joyousness that sweeps through the 85-minute show, but also a hint of sadness as the girls each share their own dream of how they envisage their adult lives will unfold.

The four young actresses deliver effervescent performances that beautifully capture the all-too-brief moment between childhood and womanhood, a moment when everything seems possible and all of life is there for the taking.

Now, where did I put my Duran Duran posters and that old bottle of White Musk?