Happy Together

Wow! Happy Together is a ferociously intelligent new play by MA student Kate Newman, and perhaps the most meta thing at the Fringe. It’s by turns shocking, disorientating, funny and strange, and one of the most under-appreciated shows this year.

May there be Kate Newman plays at the Edinburgh Fringe for many years to come!

To say too much about the premise would be giving the game away, so let’s just say the show is both set in the present moment within the performance space itself, but also in a bedroom at different moments in the future. We watch an abusive relationship unfold in reverse over the course of four years, quickly discovering that all is not as it seems.

The couple are brought arrestingly to life with some great performances from Linford Butler and Emily Bickerdike, and Newman’s violent blocking gives off Sarah Kane levels of casual brutality. Both characters are multifaceted and their behaviour shifts dramatically over the course of the play, but Butler and Bickerdike give confident and consistent interpretations of their characters’ twisted mental states. Their acting is just the right level of full-on to leave the audience bewildered but not overwhelmed by the play’s lightening pace and twisting plot.

As for the writing, Newman shows off strength after strength as a young playwright. She brilliantly captures how the phrases and foibles that define the relationship develop in reverse, and the play’s insistent meta-theatricality is far from just a gimmick, but an important thematic device that adds layers of meaning to everything that happens on stage. The writing is by turns insightful (describing how obsessing over a person can permanently alter the neural connections in your brain) and often oddly hilarious (being told to appreciate an uncomfortably full bladder as part of the performance).

Certain audience members may dismiss certain moments as overly self-referential and a little too ‘arty’ for their own good, but this just comes down to a matter of personal taste. If you’re into experimental theatre that interrogates the nature of performance in all aspects of our lives, then this production will be music to your ears. Either way, it’s impossible not to appreciate the play’s remarkable construction.

This is a bold and brash theatrical experience, after which you’ll never be able to listen to The Turtles’ Happy Together without a faint sense of menace. May there be Kate Newman plays at the Edinburgh Fringe for many years to come!

Reviews by Simon Fearn

Paradise in The Vault

Hyena

★★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Bull

★★★
theSpace @ Jury's Inn

Broken Fanny

★★★★
Quaker Meeting House

Five Kinds of Silence

★★★★
SpaceTriplex

About a Girl

★★★
theSpace @ Jury's Inn

Procrastinate

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Everywhere you go you can see happy couples being happy together. Smiling profusely, laughing manically, grabbing, grinding, slurping furiously. Happy happy happy. It must be exhausting. Do you ever wonder what happens when the happy couple go home, away from the public eye? Do they unmask, unravel, drop the act? Happy Together goes behind closed doors and explores the theatricality of one couple's dysfunctional relationship. When the stage becomes a bed, the curtain a locked door and the audience a fly on the wall, what are the boundaries between performance and life at home?

Most Popular See More

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £45.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets