Happy Together is a play that delves into the psychology of relationships and experiments both in real-time and the future.
The play opens with playwright Kate Newman introducing the idea behind her play, she scours the audience in search of two volunteers who will come up on stage to play the two main characters. She explains how they will be reading from cue cards to begin the performance. Picking on two audience members, it then becomes apparent it is staged but the play begins to unravel.
Set over the course of four years, the story tracks backwards. Set in a bedroom, as the story progresses the set slowly disappears. Linford Butler and Emily Bickerdike both give convincing performances as a couple in various stages of their relationship. Bickerdike’s character is intriguing as she portrays both strength and vulnerability as the relationship blossoms and deteriorates. This is similarly revealed in Butler’s role as he begins the piece nervous and uncertain, yet loses control of himself as he becomes possessive. The power shift within the piece is absorbing and adds to the complexity of the characters.
Investigating the idea of Stockholm Syndrome, the audience are asked to imagine the doors are locked and they become a fly on the wall. The concept itself is risky, and as experimental theatre that plays around with the idea of time which is hard to master. Using a bell to distinguish between the present and future, I still found myself losing the narrative of the piece.
The dialogue is thought-provoking and insightful, however the narrative is highly complex and I felt the piece lacked engagement due to the complexity of the script. Whilst it is a strong concept, the pace of the production appeared too rapid at times.
The idea is strong but the piece didn’t flow and whilst some questions were answered, it ends in a state of confusion. It is a play that has no coherence and needs tightening to ensure fluidity and understanding.
** 2 stars
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Tickets can be found here.