Written and performed by Just Bear Theatre Company
Flash Theatre Festival 2016
When you see the play contains a character called Happy, something inside you hopes to see Doc, Sneezy and the rest of the gang. If you get a chance to see HIM, dismiss this from your mind because you are about to enter a world, far darker, far more thought provoking and powerful that Uncle Walt ever dreamed up.
Set in the spartan, yet kind of cosy interior of a church with a storm raging outside, we find Happy, with his soon to be proved ethereal girlfriend only known as Her. We hear a hammering on the church door and after hiding her and a short verbal standoff, we meet Isaac. From this point everything changes for Happy and the play examines these changes in depth.
As the play moves on it soon becomes clear that Happy’s girlfriend is nothing more than a well dressed mannequin but neither of them are ready to admit this.
The play is all about the question of living alone, being content on one’s own and not seeking the fellowship of other human company. Indeed, the question “are you Grizzly enough” was posed on the early Twitter feed for this show and this is really pertinent to the play I saw last night. Do you need the company of others? If you shun society, does your mind eventually create illusions that allow you to live alone yet share your thoughts with others. This is what has happened to Happy and now he is forced to share with Isaac.
There are some very funny sections in this play and each were well received and understood by the audience. Other times, the discomfort of the audience while watching what was happening produced nervous laughter. Again, the perfect reaction.
Jack Alexander Newhouse and Neizan Fernandez Birchwood as Happy and Isaac respectively, have an abundance of talent between them and in this production they complement each other perfectly. Jack has perhaps the most soulful face and eyes I have seen on stage. His loneliness is evident with each look, yet his is also protective of Her and their isolation. Like most Grizzlies, he does not share well with others. Neizan is very physical and the size difference between him and Jack works well and adds to Jack feeling threatened by Isaac’s presence in his life. This play is finely crafted, well rehearsed and extremely watchable. The moment when Happy finally admits that his girlfriend is not real makes your chest tighten with emotion and as the two men realise they need each others company and leave is simply the most perfect end to this play.
This play is a great showcase for Jack and Neizan and gives great display of their acting and writing talents. Congratulations to you both. A highlight of my week.
A special mention for Jemma Bentley who played Her. On stage only briefly but with a smile that would brighten the darkest day!