It is a rainy afternoon in Woolwich Arsenal where acrobatics and physical theatre company Told By An Idiot are about to perform their show Get Happy in the middle of a South London council estate. Striving to be accessible for everyone, the location – a basketball court – is not the only thing that is focused on community theatre. As part of Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, Get Happy is a free show in an amazing line-up of live theatre made for the community, for art-lovers and people of all ages and sizes.
We enter the performance space to cheerful summer tunes and are allocated a bench (1 household per bench) for the duration of the show. The coronavirus restrictions cannot dull the excitement and good vibes that the performers bring to the space from the start. With passion and enthusiasm, Told By An Idiot perform a socially distanced arrangement of comedy and acrobatics sketches and jump, dance, and joke around. What follows is an enjoyable mix of pantomime, slapstick, and funny stand-offs without forgetting to include references to hand sanitiser and the 2-metre rule.
The show is backed by fittingly absurd sound effects and live compositions designed by Adrienne Quartly and performed by Sara Alexander to set the mood. And the mood is everything – funny sketches about swimming pools, the actors becoming “bacon frying in a pan” and a tutorial (you should not follow) on how to make egg sandwiches with ketchup. Every now and then Stephen Harper, Sophie Mercell and Jerone Marsh Reid come together to morph into astonishing acrobatic poses and keep the audience enthralled.
Told By An Idiot approach this new way of performing under regulations with an incredible chemistry and lively performance skills and don’t have any difficulty getting everybody up on their feet to dance together and laugh together. The show works splendidly as an outdoor performance – also taking into account that the actors don’t fret about getting wet during their water balloon fight – for the enjoyment of the audience.
Get Happy is what it promises to be: an acrobatics and physical comedy show that will make you and your little ones happy and can only be described as good fun. It is entertaining, full of exciting and funny moments and is fully accessible with a BSL interpreter accompanying the whole show. As part of the Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, the show achieves to make you feel good and Get Happy.
Get Happy is playing as part of the Greenwich + Docklands International Festival until 12 September 2020. For more information and tickets visit the Greenwich + Docklands International Festival website.