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Happy Days by Samuel Beckett

Happy Days : Pepper's Ghost Theatre Company

 

Regular readers of my reviews (if there are any!) will know that I rate Pepper's Ghost very highly, but prefer their takes on Theatre "classics" to their productions of TIE-style works. Which is why it was such a joy to return to MADCAP a week or two after Krapp's Last Tape to see their version of Happy Days. And I wasn't disappointed - it was absolutely brilliant!

 

Atop one of the best sets I've ever seen in local theatre (some kind of plastic / polystyrene / cement / buggered if I know how they made it! mound of earth), Sue Whyte gave the greatest performance I've ever seen her give, as Winnie - trapped in a world of uncertainty, slow decay and nostalgia. It was really good to see her given the chance to do something other than "The Mum" character which she often gets lumbered with (well, I say lumbered - often they're good characters), and show the range she's really capable of. Her Winnie was by turns funny, innocent, harsh and tortured.

 

Behind the mound for almost all of the play, Richard Duncombe was great as ever, whether it was just the tip of his head or hands we saw, or during the painful moment when his Willie finally emerged. Fnarr. Perhaps the best praise I can give, though, is that this piece which can often drag (as feature-length plays with only one actual voice will tend to) rarely lost my attention at all. I was spellbound throughout, and it's not very often you can say that with local theatre productions.

 

Another hit from Pepper's Ghost, then. A million and one points. Great stuff.