Take a look at what is being said about Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini’s play, continuing to run at the theatre until the 8th April.

(c)Helen Murray

WhatsOnStage: **** “Throughout, Ibini writes with insight and humour conjuring the texture of their lives. Nothing is laid on too heavily. They are four girls bound by love and friendship who together negotiate the problems of early adulthood. It is a pleasure to be in their company.”

The Guardian: **** “The second half of the script jumps frenziedly from resolving one girl’s problems to the next. But this is an exhilarating tableau of imperfect young friendship and you leave wanting an invite to their next party.”

Evening Standard: **** “Bakray proves a captivatingly subtle presence on stage but is absolutely matched by her co-stars. She, Grappy and Sinclair are all making their stage debuts here: Odoffin has done precisely one play before (Clybourne Park at the Park Theatre last year: she was great). Sinclair is still at drama school. Director Jade Lewis also seems to be a relative newcomer, which makes the naturalness and completeness of the world she builds with the cast all the more extraordinary.”

Time Out: **** “Starting at a birthday sleepover at Shan’s in the autumn of 2017, and ending with the girls seeing out 2018 together, the story is a slice of life that sees each of the group confronted by their own crisis. But it’s not really about the plot but the ride: they’re just incredibly fun characters to spend time with, and Lewis’s joltingly energetic production, pepped-up by pop songs and endearingly un-slick dance routines.”

The Arts Desk: **** “There is a winning sweetness, however, to the relationships between the four girls, as well as a welcome sourness that surfaces when they are under duress. This recipe could do with more flavours, to give it more dramatic focus, but the cast are huge fun to hang out with. The prom scene, where they parodically pose for each other’s smartphone cameras in their finery, is especially entertaining, as is the sexy catching-a-wine dance routine Funmi and Shan perform (with pillows). The result is the best theatrical party in town.”

The Stage: **** “Like a jar full of bright jelly beans, this new play by Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini is a sweet, vivid and joyous jumble. It’s stuffed with more ideas and plot strands than we can comfortably chew, and Ibini scatters them about with abandon rather than arranging them into a satisfying dramatic structure. But there’s such tenderness, humour and exuberance in the writing that it’s hard to resist.”

The Reviews Hub: **** “Feyiṣayọ Ibini’s taut dialogue fizzes throughout and director Jade Lewis maintains the exuberant atmosphere of this celebration of young lives.”

Lou Reviews: **** “Sleepova works on its immediacy, on a believable chemistry between the quartet, and on milestone moments anyone will recognise (first lip gloss, first crush).”

London Theatre1: **** “Overall, by showing how friends stick together through thick and thin, the play does not need to score political points. Instead, it surreptitiously encourages the audience to look to friends for support – what central Government does (or does not) do is neither here nor there for these sisters from other mothers. It’s a bold, brisk and bombastic production, enjoyable as much as it is engaging.”

Always Time for Theatre: ***** “Director Jade Lewis’ work is so thoughtful with the text that at no point do audience members feel like they are watching actors at work; rather they feel that they are witnessing a quartet at play. Of course, the world of Sleepova exists because of the writing of Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini, whose text offers an accurate and textured voice to young Black and mixed-race experiences of identity and friendship.”

The Telegraph: *** “Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini’s latest explores unusual ground and has heart, but it feels like a sparky 90-minute play trapped in a far longer one.”

Broadway World: **** “Every cast member gives a winning performance, and the dynamic between the group fizzes with genuine sisterhood and joy. The girls’ friendship feels genuine and believable from the outset, and we root for all of them despite their mistakes. Odoffin handles some of the show’s trickiest moments expertly, while Grappy as Rey oozes confidence and stage presence. Her scenes with Sinclair (who is still at drama school!) are often gripping, as Rey’s bravado and Elle’s innocence come into conflict. Bakray hits the most comedic beats of the cast, while also giving a heartbreaking performance of grief.”

To book tickets visit: https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/event/sleepova/