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Review: HAPPENINGS, The Hope Theatre

John Berry writes a millennial black tragi-comedy that’s as self-deprecating as it’s dark.

Review: HAPPENINGS, The Hope Theatre

Review: HAPPENINGS, The Hope Theatre Life has a funny way of happening. We have all these preconceptions around what it should be and what's successfully worth living that we forget that we are experiencing one. Jane (Grace Collett) is struggling with that.

Tired of residing in a suicidal hotspot and fed up with her complacent boyfriend Joe (Tom Hobart), she keeps comparing herself to everyone else. Like her best friend Fran (Zo Biba-Leonard), who reached her spiritual awakening by dropping her hairdryer in the bathtub.

John Berry writes a millennial tragi-comedy that's as self-deprecating as it's dark. His characters are all lost. Joe, busy with his videogames and his dog Wendy, pushes Jane to do something instead of waiting for that something to happen to her, not grasping the depressive void his girlfriend's feeling.

"Isn't life made up of the things that happen to you? What if nothing happens to you?" she says. So Joe suggests marriage, which makes both recoil. Then, a string of lies is created and another one is uncovered. And life happens.

Matt Turpin's direction is spare, and Happenings becomes a very personal production. Its characters sit and talk, breaking open their intimately human experience and giving (themselves and the audiences) very few answers.

Collett and Hobart are a weary long-term couple who perhaps never had anything to say to each other and chose one another out of boredom. Biba-Leonard is their spark. She bursts onto the stage and lights them up.

While Berry's writing is fresh and beckoning, Turpin's unlit scene changes set to folk-ish music halt the stream of their performance but don't ultimately weigh it down in their one-night-only at The Hope Theatre.

The play exposes the general generational insecurity of the new adults in a world where social media shows only the best of people's lives. Like Jane, we all need to be reminded that life actually is all around us and it's a beautiful, multi-faceted adventure. It's not all good, it's not all bad - it's life.

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