Super Happy Story – genuinely good theatre with real emotional impact

A Super Happy Story (about feeling super sad) 

A musical about depression and self-harm is not an easy sell. It takes imagination to write, empathy to perform, and courage to programme. Silent Uproar’s collaboration with the Corn Hall brought a challenging production to Diss that explored a difficult subject with wit, flair and humour.

Director Alex Mitchell’s assured production nipped along, so that alternate moments of calm and chaos had real emotional impact, ensuring that the dissonance of Amy Cook’s bright and shiny set design was strikingly effective. Madeleine MacMahon’s sensitive and authentic portrait of a troubled young woman in the vice-like grip of depression was ably supported by Sophie Clay and Ed Yelland in a variety of roles. Such was the depth of MacMahon’s performance and the strength of John Brittain’s nuanced writing, it was easy to imagine this was a genuine dialogue between audience and sufferer.

In spite of the occasional show tune, the evening had the hallmarks of a personal, heartfelt journey, with a narrative that continued to land body blows. That said, it was the final, inconclusive moments that contained a greater truth than the neat ending it must have been so tempting to deliver. This wasn’t just worthy, it was genuinely good theatre.

By David Vass