We spend a third of our lives in bed says the flyer for Bed: The Musical, anyone spending a month at the Edinburgh Fringe might argue that average is skewed a little downwards. This new musical from Tim Anfilogoff and Alan Whittaker condenses the lifetime of one couple into sixty musical minutes.
Ben and Alice are newlyweds, and in lieu of a honeymoon have made a hefty investment in a luxury divan, and their new bed comes with an impressive lifetime guarantee. Unsurprisingly the couple start out all lovey-dovey before starting to argue about housework, a baby comes next and life goes on with all the ups and downs you might expect.
When you need to get through an entire lifetime in just sixty minutes, it is inevitable that the story needs to move quite quickly. Despite this, Bed: The Musical has a well-constructed narrative, if a little predictable, that makes best use of the time to tell the story.
This two-hander is entirely sung through, the music is enjoyable, often resembling the melody of a lullaby without putting it’s early-afternoon audience to sleep. There’s not much differentiation between the songs, and they all sound pretty similar. It may have been an issue with just this particular performance but the volume was just too loud for the small performance space, sometimes making it quite a difficult listen.
There are strong performances from Drew Elston and Madeleine MacMahon as Ben and Alice, as things start to turn sour in the relationship we get to see the pair exercise their skills a little more, Elston in particular displays a range of conflicting emotions.
Bed: The Musical has a really promising premise, no matter what we’re going through in life, we end each day in the comfort of our own bed, it is generally our one constant. With a few tweaks to the story and a bit more variety in the musical numbers Bed: The Musical could be going places.