Belgrade Theatre review: Happy Meal
Happy Meal, Belgrade Theatre 2, Coventry, until 24 September
By Ann Evans
Happy Meal is described as a joyful queer rom com where Millennial meets Gen Z and change is all around.
When you have to ask Google what Gen Z is – and still don’t quite get it, as well as having to remind yourself about MSN, cis, irl, tbh and various other abbreviations I wondered if I’d even understand what the play was all about – let alone enjoy it
Happily, this cleverly scripted story written by Tabby Lamb tells of two young people trying to make sense of the world they are growing up in.
Even they are trying to find the right vocabulary to explain their own bodies, emotions and transgender changes.
There are just two characters – Alex (Sam Crerar) and Bette (Allie Daniel) whose friendship develops online through a virtual reality world of MySpace, messages and early video gaming.
An ingenious setting of computer booths create online and real life worlds for these two characters, and the switching between these two worlds is smoothly done. All credit to Director Jamie Fletcher with technical teamwork, lighting, sound and special effects by Ben Stones and Daniel Denton, plus excellent performances by the two actors. The pair are word perfect in this fast-talking, emotion-packed production.
Although Happy Meal is a story of friendship and love, with lots of humour there is a deep sadness just below the surface as the pair struggle to become who they really are. Sam Crerar and Allie Daniel play their roles to perfection, hiding the sadness behind their smiles, until the heart rendering scene when the two are supposed to meet up irl (in real life) for the first time at a music festival. No spoilers, but hearts are broken.
The story has all the ingredients to be a tragedy, but this is a rom com and happily joy awaits these two young lovers. Excellent production and thoroughly enjoyable.
Running time 1 hrs 10 minutes – no interval.