Job losses, painful break ups and junk food - set to music!
Great for reassuring 20-somethings that they don't necessarily need to have their shit together just yet.
Revolving around new starts, the plot follows Alex (Tom Glenister) who's thoroughly made a mess of his life in the last few months. His younger sisters rally around him: full-time cynic Lana (Sylvie Briggs) and ever-the-optimist Annabelle (Hannah Kendall), who provide beautiful harmonies in the song New Life. Between them, the three determine how Alex can model himself as a new person. It's a simple premise which doesn't try anything too risky, but in focussing on the main emotional plot the musical really excels. There's a brilliant farce plot inserted part-way through, revolving around Alex and Marguerite (Eliot Salt). Salt's comic timing is impeccable and her solo number deserved all the raucous applause it received.
Some of the plot is a little bit predictable, but it's the characterisation and emotional development across the story which really makes the show so delightful. Kendall's cheery demeanour is at risk of becoming wearing when she first appears, but she plays Annabelle's pseudo-wisdom and endless positivity that she completely embodies the sixteen-year old. Her performance in Sunny Side Up rivals that of Laura Bell Bundy in Legally Blonde, and is utterly endearing. Likewise, the duet between Lana and barman Sam (Luke Ward) is downplayed and really brings out their natural chemistry together.
The direction is done nicely, with scenes overlapping and never allowing the pace to slow except when the emotional climax is at hand. The inclusion of the band is a great touch and Tom Grant manages to steal the show as its front man Ernest. The lyrics are witty, the scenes quick and snappy and the sense of humour integral to keep matters of unemployment and heartbreak nice and light. It's a show which might not appeal to older audience members, but it's great for reassuring 20-somethings that they don't necessarily need to have their shit together just yet.