Happy Days

Wed 20th – Sat 23rd May 2015


Megan Dunne

at 03:30 on 21st May 2015



To carry off a production that is 99% monologue is no easy feat, yet Julia Kass makes it look incredibly easy. Sitting in the audience, I was marvelling at the pure achievement of Happy Days the entire time. To not only learn an hour-long monologue, but to speak for an hour, and to perfectly encapsulate the complexities and eccentricities of a Beckett character, is an extremely difficult thing to do, and this makes Kass's superb performance even more impressive. The audience was utterly engaged with her, tittering at her funny moments and falling silent in her vulnerable ones. I found myself drinking in Kass's every change of expression, and each new moment was a delight. It would have been very possible to end up stuck in the ADC, watching a so-so actress speak for an hour, but instead, due to Kass's talent, we were captivated by her every move and the performance genuinely seemed timeless. I am reminded of the incident where Beckett locked an audience in the theatre as they tried to escape a particularly grating production of one of his plays - in the case of this performance of Happy Days, however, the audience didn't want to leave even when they were obliged to. We sat looking expectantly at the dark stage minutes after the actors had left and the steward had opened the door (that the actors did not come out to bow was an eerie touch I personally liked), unwilling to leave our seats. For his part, small as it was, Elliot Wright did well, and was perfectly strange. The set was well done; simplistic and satisfactory - as were the props. The lighting was interesting: a glaring yellow that added to the hypnotic visual effect of the production, contrasted against the red of Winnie's lipstick. In short, the performance was everything one could hope for in a Beckett play. Few productions are perfect, but I find I have no criticism whatsoever regarding Happy Days - it was simply and flawlessly delightful.


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