Gen Z has arrived. Sleepover, a new original musical, blasts on stage with a penchant for stuffed toys, emojis, bold coloured matching satin pyjama sets, and explicit discussions about pegging.

A bingo card of current issues

Discussing teenage sexuality (especially for girls) is a minefield – just ask the creators of Disney’s film Turning Red, which received a huge backlash earlier this year for suggesting that a young teenage girl might harbour a crush. The girls in Sleepover are a little older than those in Turning Red – seventeen years old in this case, but still teetering on the border between child and adult. It’s certainly brave of Sleepover’s creators to want to break down boundaries around taboos around sex, particularly for young women of colour, knowing that many might find it too embarrassing or controversial. However, despite their best intentions, Sleepover never fully confronts the issues it wants to address.

From the start, the central conceit is difficult to buy into. Naïve protagonist Jenny (played by Laura Chan) has created a kind of truth or truth game to try and trick her friends into answering her frank questions about sex. Would an intelligent seventeen-year-old ready to go to college really believe that her friends would going along with this? Next, this sleepover is meant to be the big goodbye sleepover between besties. The coming-of-age moment that will define the beginning of the rest of their lives. However, out of the three girls attending the sleepover, it seems that two aren’t acquainted well at all, which removes much of the dramatic poignancy from the event. Whether they remain friends in the future doesn’t really matter if they’re not really friends now.

Sleepover is like a bingo card of current issues, but although many are checked off by the end of the performance, they are also too quickly glossed over. Trying to address fears around body confidence, inverted nipples, stretch marks, peer pressure, losing their virginity, sexual preferences, religious beliefs, cultural differences, and more becomes too much to fully tackle in an hour-long lighthearted musical. When one character reveals she has been abused, the scene ends with a simple panacea of a hug before the characters quickly move on yet again. You don’t expect these three teenage girls to have all the answers, but it felt too lightweight a reaction to such a heavy topic.

Admittedly, the titular song Sleepover is pretty catchy – you’re likely to find yourself humming the chorus throughout the rest of the day – and White Man Ban is as political as Sleepover dares to be, putting Regina Agard-Brathwaite in the spotlight as Anita, who wows with her vocals as she vows to never sleep with a white man and criticises Jenny for not wanting to date within her race. Completing the core trio is Michelle Zhang who plays Nina and expertly manages the tricky job of convincing us that she loves both pegging and Jesus.

One moment that really captures your attention is a sweet and simple melody sung by Chan at the keyboard. Her voice is delicate at first but becomes raw with emotion. Even though there issues with the script, the three leads are warm, funny, and clearly talented, and it’s very impressive for Chan to have written the whole production taking in influences of Caribbean, rap, and Chinese music, as well as performing the starring role.

You can’t help but admire a company who are looking to reclaim sleepovers from the almost exclusively white Sweet Valley High style narrative. No doubt this crew will take over the world, but hopefully in future they’ll take it one step at a time.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Elanor Parker

Brighton Fishing Museum Loft

The Tower



Bar Broadway (Off Broadway)

Billy-the-Cactus and Lorraine Fontaine

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

A Trilogy: blood (line)

Monkey Barrel Comedy

Sam Lake: Aspiring DILF

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

A Trilogy: box.


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Four immigrant teens. 12 hours. One suspicious box teeming with questions about sex. SLEEPOVER is a coming-of-age comedy musical about self-discovery (and self-pleasure!). Join Jenny, Anita, Nina and Ruth as they dive into the world of sex - discussing everything from monogamy to masturbation, dating preferences to penises. Top-class comedy delivered to you with a side of well-rapped bars in this spectacular piece of new writing. From the people who brought you Six, the Musical. Don't forget your toothbrush!

Most Popular See More


From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets