Following her critically acclaimed solo show, Hi, Anxiety, Debs Gatenby brings her sequel titled A Place Called Happiness to HOME Mcr’s Push Festival 2017. Stuck in a rut, Debs was desperate to drag herself off the sofa and embark on a journey to find happiness – and she tells us her story.
With the world’s constant obsession with happiness, Debs took a year of her life to say yes to anything that would get her out into the world. She documented her journey, and in her hour and a half play, she talks us through her year with the help of video diaries she filmed along the way.
It’s an honest and real story that touches on feelings everyone in the audience can relate to. Although it is told predominantly through immense humour, there are interjected moments of heart-break, where we see Debs’ more emotional side.
Debs begins her journey travelling to the remote Scottish islands of Eigg and Cape Cod, and then Province in the USA where she is asked to perform a show. She finds herself in complete solitude, questioning her purpose. Despite the hilarious stories of the people she encounters, she dips into significant moments in her past that she feels shaped who she is today. She tells us a poignant story about her school days, and the exact moment she realised she was going to be who she was and not apologise for it.
A Place Called Happiness is a strangely uplifting show, and Debs delivers it with effortless humour and the perfect balance of tones. We manage to see vulnerability through her naturally comedic narrative, as she emphasises on the main lesson she has learnt – that in order to be entirely happy, you need to feel connected.
Debs slowly starts to believe in herself again throughout the performance, and it is touching to witness. Her show is completely engaging, funny, and guaranteed to bring warmth to a cold Manchester evening.
A Place Called Happiness is on at HOME Mcr and tickets can be found here.