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If you can’t laugh at your own problems, try laughing at others!



Review by Emma Whitelaw

A COLOURFUL bunch of stereotypes await you at The Union Theatre for a bold exploration of life, love and all that 'heavy' stuff.

"So this is the group!" sing the characters from Conor Mitchell’s Therapeutic Musical, Have a Nice Life.

'The group', led by the hapless Neville, consists of Chris, the mummy’s boy; Frank, the aggressive one; Shelia, the meek single mother (or so she says); Jean and Amy, the unlucky in love and Barbara, the downright insane!

They all seem to be as mad as the next, but just how different are they from the rest of us?

Have a Nice Life explores this and many other concepts under an extraordinarily structured forum – the cast sit among the audience who, in turn, also become part of 'the group'.

A move that is both bold and extremely effective!

It isn’t often that one finds themselves so involved in a performance. It takes a while to work out who is who, but it is a uniquely intimate experience and one I would definitely recommend.

For those who may be shy or perhaps loathe the idea of interactive theatre, fear not! The cast are superb and although 'emotionally retarded' they will make you feel right at home.

Jamie Anderson is excellent as group leader, Neville.

 

He, too, has his own issues and it is just a matter of time before he cracks and boy does he let loose!

Sioned Jones gives yet another supreme performance as the loveable Shelia, who also has a few things to get off her chest - but just how much of it is true?

Another notable performance would be that of Kira Lauren, who is just gorgeous as the heartbroken Amy.

But the show-stealer would have to be Stefanie Moore, who has a truly amazing voice and can really belt one out when given the opportunity.

Her characterisation of the back-stabbing, revenge-obsessed Barbara was both hilarious and a delight to behold. You certainly wouldn’t want to be on her bad side.

Conor Mitchell has not only written a winning script, he has written some fabulous numbers too. The songs are as catchy as they are side-splitting.

The audience is encouraged to sing along and I guarantee you will find yourself still singing long after you’ve left the theatre.

Any play that attempts to break down the fourth wall AND does it well is instantly a roaring success in my books!

Have a Nice Life is touching yet hilarious, witty yet delirious; it is as complex as its emotional characters and is as therapeutic as any session on the couch.

After all laughter is the best medicine!

Have a Nice Life, written and directed by Conor Mitchell. Starring Mark Dugdale, Caroline Hartley, Kira Lauren, Carl Patrick, Stefanie Moore, Jamie Anderson and Sioned Jones. On banjo/guitars, Chris Payne, on drums, Oliver Gering and on keyboard, Conor Mitchell. January 13 – 29 at the Union Theatre, 204 Union Street, Southwark SE1 0LX. Box office 020 7621 9876.

Picture kindly supplied by Stagephoto.co.uk

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