Theatre review: Happy Together

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Your enjoyment of this funny/dark relationship dramedy from The Lincoln Company will depend on your taste for clever-clever meta-theatre flourishes.

Star rating: ***

Venue: C Cubed (Venue 50)

It begins with playwright Kate Newman introducing herself as a character and immediately wrong-footing the audience, selecting two semi-willing volunteers to perform her script.

The chronology leaps back and forth between the play being performed in the present and a series of progressively less-distant scenes from the future. At one point the audience and cast are given cue cards to read aloud, praising Newman for how well everything’s going and fawningly recognising her theatrical references and antecedents (Third Angel’s Presumption and Tim Crouch’s An Oak Tree, in case you’re wondering).

This tricksy game-playing is anchored by the central narrative of a blossoming – or, depending on how you look at it, deteriorating – relationship, although some plot twists may strain credulity. There’s also some exploration of psychological syndromes and complexes – some successful, some less so. The reverse storytelling of the future segments is complemented by the staging: as the story tracks backwards, props and furniture are stripped out piece by piece, slowly reverting to the bare outlines of an empty stage.

Until 29 August. Today 6:15pm.

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