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Am I happy yet? (Susan Elkin reviews)

Am I Happy Yet?
Written and performed by Jack Hesketh. Produced by 3Dumb Theatre
society/company: West End & Fringe 
performance date: 03 Mar 2020
venue: The Lion & Unicorn Theatre (Above the Lion & Unicorn Pub), 42-44 Gaisford Street, Kentish Town, London NW5 2ED
 

⭐⭐⭐

Rooted in his own experience of growing up in Aberdeen and then moving to a larger city to train at LIPA, Jack Hesketh’s one-man play is thoughtful, moving and entertaining.

We’re in a young man’s bedsit and we follow him as he gets up on several mornings and goes out variously meeting friends, on a date and doing what he needs to do – addressing the audience continually as he reflects on his own state of mind and enacts his encounters. He remembers his parents and talks to his dead father too, all the time trying to come to terms with his own anxiety and depression.

Hesketh is a charismatic and personable actor. He tiptoes, dances, mimes, uses the space imaginatively (director Coral Tarran has done a good job), talks naturalistically to the audience and is often quite funny. At the end of the fifty minutes we, the audience, are onside and rather sorry when it’s over.

Dominic Beale’s sound design provides rhythmic music for the young man to wake up to and a harsh grating sound like a radio which has wandered off the signal whenever the protagonist has a moment of anxiety. Red lights come on at the same time. It’s a simple device but it works,

LIPA has a strong tradition of encouraging its graduands and graduates to make their own work and supporting them to do so. Hesketh is clearly another example of that ethos and I suspect we shall we hearing/seeing a lot more of him very soon. It’s also good to see yet another piece exploring mental health – so many people have problems that these are issues which really can’t be visited too often.

First published by Sardines: http://www.sardinesmagazine.co.uk/reviews/review.php?REVIEW-West%20End%20&%20Fringe-Am%20I%20Happy%20Yet?&reviewsID=3886
 
 
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Susan Elkin
Susan Elkin Susan Elkin is an education journalist, author and former secondary teacher of English. She was Education and Training Editor at The Stage from 2005 - 2016
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