Writer: Debs Gatenby
Director: Ashley Knowles
Reviewer: Andrea Allen
Debs Gatenby’s one woman show tracks her quest to answer the ultimate human question, ‘how to be happy’. Her journey starts on her coffee (or is it red wine?) stained sofa, before bounding to the far-flung Hebridean Island of Eigg, before flying to a seemingly paradisiacal town on the East Coast of America, then back to the sofa. In the Hebrides she is welcomed with open arms by some, viewed with disdain by others and invariably chased and harassed by the island’s livestock. In the US paradise she is known as ‘amish girl’ and believes she’s found the most beautiful place on earth, but what’s paradise for some can be the least happy place for others.
The joy of this piece comes in its seemingly raw spontaneity, the sense that one is witnessing a freshly borne stream of consciousness never wavers, though Gatenby’s ability to captivate an audience reveals an energy and ability that, in her words, only a ‘confident person’ would admit to. Gatenby’s heartwarmingly human manner makes every self-deprecating tale and incident that bit more relatable as you realise that you’re not the only one that’s cleared a dancefloor with your DJ requests, nor are you the first person to think that you’d rather be on the sofa than networking with industry peers.
The one drawback is that it’s a smidge too long. Gatenby’s endearing non-linear ramblings lose their way a little bit in the middle, and you can’t help but feel that 60 minutes might have been better than 90.
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands, and maybe cheer a bit at the end. One thing’s for sure, once the applause has finished although you’ll have an achey bum from being in the theatre a bit too long, you’ll leave the theatre happier and more uplifted than when you came in.
Runs until 28th January 2017