That’s case for Sally in Jon Brittain and Matthew Floyd Jones’ A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad), an upbeat but painfully truthful musical about depression which is available digitally via Wilton’s Music Hall.
Sally is a bright, confident teenager with the world at her feet when depression strikes. At first, it's just like something she notices out of the corner of her eye, or like a change of pressure in the room. Then it becomes something that presses down so hard that she can barely breathe and can’t get out of bed.
I’ve watched this show change and grow over the last few years and there is something about its unique mix of silliness and seriousness which is enormously appealing, and which ensures it delivers a crucial message with a freshness and lightness of touch. It’s a show that doesn’t just offer a great night out or in (in this instance) but which could also be a lifesaver. Because as Sally discovers it can be the strangest things—wanting to know how Breaking Bad ends or not wanting to die while Bat Out of Hell is playing—that can keep you alive when all seems hopeless.
It fits Wiltons very well. Amy Jane Cook's cabaret-style design suits the slightly larger than life comic book style of the piece which can-- in Alex Mitchell’s nifty production-- turn on a sixpence into something darker.
Sophie Clay-- very effectively playing several roles-- is terrific as Tash, the elusive young woman who Sally only ever encounters in the shadows who offers some excellent advice. Edward Yelland lends nerdy outsider Toby, who turns out to be the best of friends, a distinctive tang. Holding it all together is Madeleine MacMahon’s engaging Sally, a young woman you are rooting for through all the highs and lows.
Photos by Sam Taylor.
Looking at social media, you might be deceived into thinking that everybody is upfront and open when talking about their mental health. But it is a subject that remains cloaked in silence. This show joins Every Brilliant Thing as one of theatre’s great shows about mental health. It sings out loud, proud and wittily without ever shirking the truth about depression and the difficult journey to getting well again.
You can watch A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) online until Sun 11 Jul. Tickets here.