Review: A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad), online

Recorded in June 2021 before a socially-distanced audience at Wilton’s Music Hall, A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) brings Silent Uproar’s show back to the stage following previous successful runs at the Edinburgh Fringe and Vaults Festival.

Written by Jon Brittain with music by Matthew Floyd Jones, this is the story of Sally’s journey through depression, which kicks in when she is an outwardly happy teen. Played by Madeleine McMahon, Sally’s story is a dark one cut through with moments of comedy and a regular sprinking of songs.

The purpose of the show is to highlight that those with depression should not shy from talking about it (a similar message came through Sparkly Bird in last month’s Brighton Fringe). There are, of course, triggers about mental illness and suicide which make this show sometimes hard to watch.

Production photo from A Super Happy Story

Sally’s story, Sally’s experience, Sally’s life. McMahon’s strong central performance is supported at every turn by Sophie Clay and Ed Yelland, playing multiple other characters. These three have been on the show for several years now and give an easy feel to difficult scenes and lines.

The awkwardness of those around you who don’t know what to say, or say the wrong things like “smile”, or “pull yourself together”. The people who try to help that those afflicted will push away through shame or a loss of control. The stigma from others. The feeling everyone around you hates you.

A Super Happy Story … takes on the comedy aspects of Sally’s decision to dress as a dog to become a chugger and the moment where Sally attempts suicide, which needs particular care, with aplomb.

The use of lively songs does not always convince, but it is an interesting way to raise awareness without causing audiences to feel uncomfortable or distressed.

Production photo from A Super Happy Story

Alex Mitchell’s staging of the production gives a minimal yet powerful feel to this story, enhanced by Jon Beney’s movement direction, Ed Clarke’s sound, Adam Foley’s lighting, and Amy Jane Cook’s deisgn.The show is affirming, honest, and feels very real.

The stream of A Super Happy Story …, produced by Seabright Productions, is the first of four shows from Wilton’s Music Hall available in digital format this summer. It runs from 1-11 July on book here.

For more about Silent Uproar, who “make theatre for the young, the angry, the freaks and the geeks”, you can follow their social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube).

Image credit: Sam Taylor

LouReviews received complimentary access to review A Super Happy Story (about Feeling Super Sad).