All The Happy Things @ Theatre503 Review

What the concept of family means to us is personal to us all, these bonds our initial encounters with the world and ones that shape how we access life’s daily encounters. For children who become the carers of their parents from either a young age or older, this role reversal of the provider now becoming the one that’s cared for is a stark one. Exploring this seldom talked about reality of life in their topical show All The Happy Things, writer Naomi Denny‘s play examines themes of sisterhood, care, mental health, relationships and grief in this 60 minute work.

Sisters Sienna (Madeline Charlemagne) and Emily (Naomi Denny) share an unbreakable bond, polar opposites in personality, they clash about your typical things yet always come back around and gel with one another, Sienna you’re more astute, well organised sibling, Emily you’re more care-free, fun persona. What forms a large part of their current circumstances is the decline in their father’s mental health, Sienna the one who makes regular visits to him at his care home, Emily the more reluctant sibling, due to the family dynamic.

Denny writes a tender, thoughtful show giving voice to two siblings navigating a world where they’ve had to look after themselves, Sienna’s grit and resilience one to be admired, Sienna and Emily’s bond playful yet sentimental. Melina Namdar directs a warm, organic evening, one where we meander through scenarios within the home setting, from Sienna and Emily not seeing eye to eye about things, to them talking about their mother and father, to Sienna and her boyfriend Sam (Jules Chan) having date nights. The evening also brilliantly tackles the theme of grief sensitively, offering a safe space to explore this through the eyes of those impacted, and the spiritual element that this in turn takes on. We share the cast’s high and lows in this intimate home drama, real lives playing before our very eyes automatically fostering connection.

Review written by Lucy Basaba.

All the Happy Things was shown from Thursday 21st to Saturday 23rd July 2022 at Theatre503. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop