This review by Emily Holyoake was originally published at Exeunt Magazine on 20 October 2017.
HAPPINESS LTD by Tom Nicholas
Produced by New Model Theatre and The Bike Shed Theatre, in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth and Salisbury Playhouse
Performed by: Rebecca Jade Hammond, Lloyd Notice, Liam Salmon, Gabrielle Sheppard
Directed by: Jo Newman
Designer: Tomasin Cuthbert
Sound and Music: Chris Menes
Producer: Emily Souter Johnson
For a play set in the niche world of indie game development, Happiness Ltd feels comfortingly familiar. Game designer Vi (Gabrielle Sheppard) goes through a break-up which rocks her sense of self, so she invents a game to cope, celebrating small achievements like eating a proper meal or getting up on time. Her best friend and coder Tyler (Liam Salmon) turns Vi’s idea into an augmented reality app, which is quickly backed by a large company. Success puts a strain on their friendship. The corporate backers push for an unethical marketing strategy. And Vi, who should be on the rise, finds she’s still falling apart. It’s a small-scale, contemporary rags-to-riches story with big ideas.