DramaEdinburgh Festival FringeEdinburgh Fringe 2016ReviewScotland

Happy Dave – Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Writer: Oli Forsyth

Director: Sam Carrack

Reviewer: Stephen Bates

Dave is contemptuous of today’s youngsters. He complains that earlier generations invented rock, punk and rave, but all we have now is the X-Factor Christmas single. Oli Forsyth’s new play begins in the 1990s when Dave was DJ at massive rave parties in open fields, until the Home Secretary, Michael Howard, brought them to an end. It then fast-forwards 20 years to find Dave a model of conformity as an account executive with an advertising agency.

An air of disillusionment hangs over Andy McLeod’s Dave. The oldest by far in his office, his enthusiasm for activities perceived to be exclusively for those half his age is sneered at by colleagues, but, given the chance to dip his toes again in the rave scene, he jumps in at the deep end. For him, it is a drug habit that he cannot kick and returning to it is like going back home.

Dave’s passion, more than mere nostalgia, suggests a hankering for wilder, freer times when the law and health and safety obsessions had a lesser grip on our lives. With his disciples, played by Helen Coles, Kiell Smith-Bynoe, Lucy Hagan-Walker and the writer himself, he sets about organising raves, aided by the new tool of social media. He triggers a cat-and-mouse game with police and takes his chances in the face of career and financial ruin.

Forsyth’s 70-minute play does not yet feel fully formed, perhaps needing a stronger narrative drive to hold it together, but it makes bold and original statements about youth culture and Sam Carrack’s energetic, well-acted production makes it shine.

Runs until 29 August 2016

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The Reviews Hub - Scotland

The Scotland team is under the editorship of Lauren Humphreys. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.

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