Hope Has a Happy Meal (NHB Modern Plays)

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Hope Has a Happy Meal (NHB Modern Plays)

Hope Has a Happy Meal (NHB Modern Plays)

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In the process she finds not only old family but new friends, and acts of kindness and solidarity along the way. The People’s Republic of Koka Kola is a dystopian capitalist cess pit – a country which used to be a democracy and is now dominated by the most powerful brands representing the most extreme form of capitalism. Hope has a Happy Meal plays at The Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Upstairs space until Saturday 08 July.

He gives the actors lots to work with, and Royal Court Associate Director Lucy Morrison adds physical flair and playfulness to the piece. You will be pleased to know that McDonald’s is referenced about a hundred times, though the Happy Meal toy is never realised.The carnival inspired set is designed by Naomi Dawson and attempts to encapsulate the madness of the world, but doesn’t quite pull it off because the text doesn’t delve deeply enough into the metaphor of capitalism as a circus. Despite Hope’s name, her story is tragic until the last as she leaves a streak of selfish destruction in her wake. Now, Lor’s once thriving commune, not so subtly named ‘Strawberry Fields’, has failed, and its stalwart is suffering from alcohol addiction. In the Upstairs studio space, we arrive in the People’s Republic of Koka Kola, formerly the UK, a hilariously lurid police state where freedoms are acutely curtailed and consumer capitalism is totally dominant.

Nevertheless, Fowler never loses his finely tuned sense of humour, leavening out the more overwrought moments with a welcome wryness.Laura Checkley’s Hope and Mary Malone’s Isla are nicely contrasting characters, and the early comic scenes are the strongest in the play. Isla’s sister was murdered by an abusive partner, and she is harbouring the couple’s child – on the run from relentlessly evil father, Wayne.

Hope is helped not only by Isla, but also by a random train passenger, a trucker and of course by Ali. Perhaps the most notable example of that is in Lucy Morrison’s direction which is creative, intuitive, and dynamic. Perhaps its strongest message is about community togetherness and the power of people, though it never doubles down. Like Alistair McDowall’s All of It, Tom Fowler’s Hope Has a Happy Meal features striking performances in a story where recognisably painful human emotions — loss of family members — are set in a dystopian vision of the world’s future.Ali and Isla fall for each other and along the way the threesome find themselves unwittingly kidnapping Wayne – it turns out none have the stomach for cold blooded murder. Each week, we send newsletters and communication featuring articles, our latest tickets invitations, and exclusive offers. While the narrative is strong and as an audience member I found Hope has a Happy Meal engaging and fun, I did struggle with identifying its key messages.

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