Am I Happy Yet? - a ★★★★ tightly observed journey!

Am I Happy Yet?
Am I Happy Yet? is a fast-paced, tightly observed one-man play, written and performed by Scottish actor, Jack Hesketh. Originally performed as part of Six Plays One Day by Threedumb Theatre at The Actors Centre earlier this year, it now arrives for a short run at The Lion and Unicorn.
Autobiographical in nature, Hesketh tells the story of an unnamed nineteen- year old as he grows from a youthful, even optimistic adolescence to questionable adulthood. He cleverly explores elements - football, guitar, saving money and sunflowers – all of which create happiness in his younger development and are easily identified. It is only when he reads about a nineteen-year-old man in a newspaper that he begins to question his maturity and status as a man. At this point, the pressures of life begin to weigh heavily and he questions whether he has missed the notional door marked adulthood. This then becomes an exploration of his depression as he questions his mental health.
Hesketh’s writing is immediate, nuanced and clever. His romp through his younger life is joyously experiential with some smart anecdotal moments, cleverly orchestrated with ELO’s Mr Blue Skies. This is in sharp contrast to an excellent soundscape by Dominic Beale that punctuated the darker scenarios of hopelessness.
Coral Tarran has directed with incredible creative verve and has captured Hesketh’s undoubted physicality as an actor - both exploring a fascinating light and shade in this intriguing piece.
Hesketh is a decidedly talented young actor and writer. I was recommended to see Am I Happy Yet? by an experienced and seasoned reviewer who had seen Hesketh and his work earlier. I must say, I was not disappointed and look forward to seeing where he goes and what he does next – a decidedly exciting prospect!
Am I Happy Yet? plays at The Lion and Unicorn Theatre until 6 March 2020.