EEINBURGH FRINGE 2017: A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) ★★★★★
A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad)
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)
Sunday 27th August
When you first look at this production on promotional material alone, you would think that a musical about depression wouldn't work, or would be something that would be hard to really convey, so going into watching this production you would feel very apprehensive, but you can be rest assured as I must admit that I think this production was one of the most skilled, inventive and funniest musicals I have seen which had so much heart and soul, dealing with the subject matter of Depression beautifully.
The production has six chapters, each with a title that conveys Sally's, our main protagonist, main milestones whilst living with the mental illness; The Best Night of Sally's Life, How Everything Went To Shit, The Most Depressing Job in the World, Margarita's in Disneyland, The Worst Night of Sally's Life, and finally, (What Happened Next…). Each of these chapters is presented in the form of a backdrop, all individually created with added artistic flare to sum up that period of Sally's life whilst also getting a sense of her personality. I found this incredible charming and a device that worked very well in letting the audience know where we were on Sally's journey.
The whole cast work beautifully on stage and you get this real sense of chemistry and likeability from all of the performers. The talents from Sophie Clay and Ed Yelland especially extend when the skill of multi-roling comes into the focus; one of Ed's characters, Toby, has an addiction to the band Meat Loaf - all of the scenes involving Toby are hilarious, but a particular hit from the band, 'Bat out of Hell’, becomes a huge device to get the audience in fits of laughter out from a very poignant moment in the show - it's a really clever device of repetition for a name like Meat Loaf especially in a musical with such a hard-hitting theme of depression and at times suicide.
One particular highlight I want to point out though is the song No Way Out - not actually the confirmed title for this number, the song is hugely impactful and the performance given by Madeline MacHahon, who portrays Sally, is absolutely incredible - I can see a big future for this musical if it receives a transfer in the future, but I really hope at least that a song which such powerful emotion like this track gets released as I believe it would be a huge success and a testament to how those who have depression might be feeling at their lowest point.
Overall, A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) is beautifully scripted, crafted, and is full of huge amounts of love and care from everyone involved in the company, making it a musical to remember for a very long time!