A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad)
Jon Brittain with music by Matthew Floyd Jones
A Super Happy Story is as good as it gets in Edinburgh. This is a beautifully developed, deeply moving exploration of depression dressed up as a musical, directed by Alex Mitchell for Hull-based Silent Uproar.
Sally McKenzie is an ordinary woman whom you would pass in any street without particularly noticing. We first meet her as a 16-year-old, the world her oyster.
Over the next ten years, aspirations slowly fade as Sally finds and loses love then drops out of college after a panic attack, leading to terrifying depression and convincing denial.
Over ensuing years, she is observed working as a chugger in a (highly symbolic) dog outfit, trying to shake off her one true (albeit dull) friend and attempting suicide until Meat Loaf counter-intuitively saves the day. There are also trips to support groups and limited support a busy, unsupportive mother.
What could be unbearable to watch is made palatable due to Sally’s honesty and humanity in a stand-out performance from Madeleine MacMahon that should win awards.
With jaunty songs, composed and accompanied by Matthew Floyd Jones, gleefully delivered by Miss MacMahon along with Sophie Clay and Ed Yelland capped by a tentatively optimistic ending, this is the perfect, tear-jerking remedy for anyone who has ever suffered depression but just as much for those who wish to understand and avoid the terrible affliction.
Reviewer: Philip Fisher