Bed And Sofa 

Taking its inspiration from a 1920’s Russian silent movie seen back in 
college days, this short musical by Americans Laurence Klavan and Polly Pen
spoofs conventional opera with a repetitive, often mundane libretto and an
 equally limited score.

But that doesn’t stop this perky European premiere of
 a 1996 off-Broadway success from being surprisingly enjoyable with its 
tongue in cheek account of a ménage à trois which was never meant to be.

David Woodhead’s charmingly clever set – a tiny split abode with 4-piece
 orchestra seated above – conjures the compact apartment shared by Ludmilla 
and her construction supervisor husband Kolya during the Moscow housing
 crisis of 1926.

Their happy existence is thrown into disarray when his old 
army comrade Volodya can’t find anywhere else to live and moves in with them
 – initially sleeping on the sofa, but soon replacing Kolya in the bed.

that’s just the start of things.

Penelope Keith supplies an ironically plummy voiceover of Marxist quotes to
 mark each new scene (all played out with the stylised jerkiness of early 
movies) as their relationships go through various computations.

sung (by Kaisa Hammarlund’s neat, smiling Ludmilla scrubbing her house
clean, Alastair Parker’s burly Kolya and Alastair Brookshaw’s deceptively 
sensitive-faced Volodya), Luke Sheppard’s quirky production knows its 
limitations and  –  unlike the couple’s house guest –  never outstays its 


Finborough, Finborough Road, SW10  9ED
Tube: Earl’s Court
0844 847 1652
Until 23rd of April 


– Louise Kingsley