Local theatre reviewer, Lola, reviews the studio production of “Happiness” by Paul Matthews
The play is set over three summer days in July and is bookended by a funeral and a wedding. Or is it? Will the wedding take place? Over the course of two hours the central character Philippa Farnsworth goes through several emotions as she reflects on what will bring her the best chance of future happiness. Suzanna Walters as Philippa played her role with adroitness and expertly moved through a range of difficult emotions as her character struggled to understand and accept that her future might be happier with Simon than with Christopher.
As her fiance Christopher, Matthew Weaver convincingly showed us a brittle character who had concerns of his own which possibly prevented him from being able to provide the happiness which Philippa wanted. Kenny Menet-Hawkins was perhaps a little young for the portrayal of Simon but nonetheless played his part in showing us–and Philippa–that he was the better bet for a happier marriage than the self obsessed Christopher.
The play is a mixture of serious moments mixed with elements of farce (including the staple of a middle aged man losing his trousers !), and the cast, under the capable direction of Tracey Gillard, handled the switches from comedy back to seriousness with some alacrity. As Florence Merry, a woman with her own regrets, Moyra Brookes excelled and acted with the panache and style Nomads have come to expect from her. Hayley Clines as Martha played the part with enthusiasm and clearly thoroughly enjoyed playing the role of the faithful research assistant. Light relief came in the form of Iain MacFarlane‘s uncle Brian. Blustering and overly jovial the underlying warmth came through his (at times), Aussie larrikin tactlessness. Emily Ingold was a delight as Christopher’s sister Louise, playing the would-be maneater with great relish.The Nomads put the show on in the intimate space of The Studio. There is great scope for interesting theatre here that might not attract large audiences in the main house. It is to be hoped we see more shows here in the future.
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