It’s 1968 and the world is about to change. At least, the world in Grange Park is about to change and it’s all thanks to Honey Child’s Happening. This immersive and interactive comedy personally invites you to enter Honey’s garish and heavily-patterned living room. Inspired by her ‘way out there’ senior air stewardess daughter Barbara (Asha Cornelia Cluer), she is trying to recreate the edgiest parties of Mad Men-era New York in her suburban living room, complete with Andy Williams records and the classic combination of cheese and pineapple proudly presented on cocktail sticks. Our central host, Honey (Fiona Coffey), is a warm and personable presence who manages to convince even the most shy and reluctant audience member to get up on their feet and participate with glee. In fact, the atmosphere is so open and welcoming that it’s only a few minutes before strangers are chatting away like old friends and scratching their heads whilst trying to remember what Sandie Shaw was famous for.
You’ll find plenty to enjoy in Honey’s Happening.
In amongst the party games and conga lines is Honey’s desperate attempt to try and understand a world that’s rapidly changing around her, leaving her behind in the process. It’s easy to forget how revolutionary space travel, even international travel, was in those days. How many women wished they lived a more fulfilling life back then? And how many women still wish that now? Returning to an era when civil rights were in their infancy reminds us of how lucky we are to live in a more tolerant world today, but also provokes thoughts about our own ignorances and how we too can make change happen for the mysterious future ahead.
The snappy run time – only 55 minutes – breezes by and this is one of the very rare occasions that I wished a show was longer. Complex issues, such as representations of sexuality and the ambition for world peace, are introduced and then perhaps too easily resolved, and the show came to a sweet but abrupt finish. Judging by how the audience roared with laughter, I think I wasn’t the only one in the audience who would have liked to play at least one more party game whilst in such good company.
Whether you’re nostalgic for a bygone era (and those ‘square’ Perry Como records) or simply looking for inspiration as to how to live today as the first day of the rest of your life, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in Honey’s Happening.