Smile Like You're Happy

Smile. [Like You’re Happy] is a debut work written by Blue McElroy for Sparkle Sarcasm Productions who are part of New Celts, a consortium of students from Edinburgh Napier University and Queen Margaret University where McElroy completed this thesis production for the MFA playwriting course. It’s directed by Grace Baker at the [email protected] Hall.

Unlikely to produce many smiles or make you feel happy.

There seems to be a lot of work still left to be done in bringing this play to the point at which it is focussed and coherent. Primarily it deals with issues of mental health, in a world where people try to be true to themselves, yet are obsessed about their public image on social media. Kate (Robyn Reilly) has recently graduated and is in a relationship with Patrick (John Whyte) who encourages her to share her feelings and experiences online. He recognises that she is a novice in this area and offers the services of his somewhat nerdy brother Grem (Lex Joyce) in recording and posting her material. This might be straightforward, but into the melting pot is thrown the nagging voice of her mother (Jess Ferrier) who physically hovers around her as a form of alter ego, advising, criticising and generally getting in the way.

As if this were not enough, there is also the burning question of the relationship Kate has with Patrick. He might appear to have her best interests at heart, but as Whyte develops the character his unpleasant, self-centred, controlling and manipulative disposition comes increasingly to the fore. As the play progresses, what is going on between the two of them increasingly takes over as the main focus, reaching a climax when he goes to physically assault her. Apparently all of this is influenced by Blue having seen The Taming of the Shrew.

In addition there are several niggling aspects to the production. Whyte is tall and imposing but looks uncomfortable dressed throughout in a dark grey suit, in contrast to the informality of the others. Presumably this is to emphasise his success in the financial sector and superiority, but it gives more of the appearance that he has just returned from a funeral. Kate uses a ring lamp when making her recordings, but Reilly seems ill-at-ease with it. The numerous recordings she makes means her phone is constantly being attached to it and taken off with a great deal of fiddling around that becomes increasingly annoying and distracting. The largely shallow dialogue, which is not short on clichés, and the generally low-key performances simply cannot cope with so much distraction.

The potential is there to make a much sharper play out this material, but at the moment it is unlikely to produce many smiles or make you feel happy.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Richard Beck

Pleasance

Prison Games

★★★★
Queen's Theatre Hornchurch

Beginning

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

This is Paradise

★★★
theSpaceTriplex

Intricate Rituals

★★
theSpaceTriplex

Smile Like You're Happy

★★

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

Smile takes a behind the scenes look at the gruelling world of social media. Strip away the filters, Photoshop and fakery to uncover the harsh reality of life online. Follow Kate’s rise and fall as an influencer. Who are her real friends? Who really wants to help her? Who’s in it for themselves? Watch as her relationships erode and the effect this has on her mental health. Just because you’re smiling, doesn’t mean that you’re happy.

Most Popular See More

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Anything Goes

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets