Sleepless trials COVID test

Published: 26 July 2020
Reporter: Sandra Giorgetti

Jay McGuiness, Kimberley Walsh and Theo Collis Credit: Matt Crockett

The long-awaited world première of Sleepless, A Musical Romance will take place on 1 September with the cast, the 12-piece jazz orchestra, crew and theatre staff having daily COVID tests.

Known as FRANKD (Fast, Reliable, Accurate, Nucleic-based Kit for COVID-19 Diagnostic Detection) the test will provide results within 30 minutes via a secure app to mobile phones. Since no laboratory work is needed, the test, which is also being trialled at airports, will be carried out at the venue using a portable testing machine.

Michael Rose and Damien Sanders, on behalf of the producers, said, “we are so excited to be leading the way for our industry and to be the first fully staged, indoor musical back up and running and we have been working around the clock to make it possible.

"Uppermost in our minds has been the safety of our cast and crew and this new fast and accurate technology from GeneMe allows us to lead the way once more with daily COVID testing of our cast and crew which can give everyone involved peace of mind and create a happy and safe working environment. This technology is currently being trialled by airports, government departments, sports teams and multinational companies in the UK and we are delighted to be the first to trial the system in the theatre and live event industry.”

Audience members will be temperature checked, socially distanced and requested to wear masks. Groups of up to four people from the same household or social bubble may sit together with tickets being assigned by the box office. Tickets may be exchanged until two hours before curtain-up due to illness.

A contactless system will be in place for buying refreshments and there will be hand sanitiser dispensers and a programme of deep cleaning between performances.

The show stars Jay McGuiness as Sam and Kimberley Walsh as Annie. They are joined by Daniel Casey, Harriet Thorpe, Tania Mathurin and Jake Sharp. The cast is completed by Charlie Bull, Colin Burnicle, Christie-Lee Crosson, Laura Darton, Leanne Garretty, Matt Holland, Ross McLaren, Gary Murphy, Dominique Planter, Annie Wensak and Benjamin Wong.

Theo Collis, Mikey Colville, Jobe Hart and Jack Reynolds share the role of Jonah, the son of Sam, who settles in Seattle after the death of his wife, and whose story is taken up by journalist, Annie.

Sleepless, A Musical Romance, is based on the film Sleepless in Seattle. It has music and lyrics by Robert Scott and Brendan Cull and a book by Michael Burdette.

The director is Morgan Young, the musical director is Chris Walker and the orchestrator and arranger is Larry Blank. It is presented by Michael Rose, Encore Theatre Productions Ltd, David Shor and Marc Toberoff.

Sleepless, A Musical Romance has previews from 25 August, and opens on 1 September. The limited season finishes on 27 September.