Edinburgh review: A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) (Pleasance Courtyard)
Jon Brittain and Matthew Floyd Jones tackle depression with their hilarious new musical
You'll be hard-pushed to find a better musical at this year's Fringe than Jon Brittain and Matthew Floyd Jones' A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad).
The titular story belongs to Sally. At the top of the tale she's a 16 year-old girl with a desire to change the world. But life has let her down. Her absent parents have left her to fend for herself and her world begins to spiral.
Over the course of six chapters spanning a decade, we see Sally in denial of the 'd'-word before she finally seeks help from support groups and medication. But when things are looking up she hits rock bottom, where she's forced to begin the course of recovery once more.
Where Brittain (Rotterdam) and Floyd Jones's (Frisky & Mannish) enrapturing musical comes into its own is in the clever handling of its sensitive subject. It refuses to gloss over the gut-wrenching destruction of Sally's all-encompassing sadness, nor does it ever let its audience get bogged down with it. Every time the material seems to reach peak heartache, Sally bounces back with her life-affirming optimism.
Madeleine MacMahon gives a sterling performance in the lead role, perfectly harmonising the happy and sad facets of this young lady who just won't give up. She's brilliantly accompanied by Sophie Clay and Edward Yelland in a multitude of roles that complete Sally's story. Sharp direction from Alex Mitchell and live underscoring from Floyd Jones creates an atmosphere that is by turns exhilarating and exhausting.
This is a must see for anyone that has felt the effects of depression, but as a society still battling with the right way to deal with mental illness, everyone could benefit from seeing this super story.
A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) runs at Pleasance Courtyard at 14.20 until 28 August.