Review: MEL TRICKEY in Happiness 101

Do something that makes you happy!

By Adam Tonking

Happiness 101: Laughter is the Best Pseudo-Science! introduces us to esteemed academic Professor Geraldine Gravis, as played by Mel Trickey, who is here to lecture us on happiness, what it is and how to achieve it as proven through her scientific methods.

Not everything goes according to plan as her logic unravels and her inner yearnings reveal themselves, all for the entertainment of the audience.

This show is a perfect example of brilliantly-crafted cabaret, performed and written by Trickey. It has everything: a clear and engaging story, well-chosen songs to serve said story, a fully-realised character taking us along for the ride.

Trickey commanded the stage from the start, involving the audience – on Thursday night we were quite a small crowd which can be, well, tricky – but she was so charming that we were happy to play along. The left turn the story takes in the middle could have become trite and obvious, but as handled by Trickey was completely successful.

A lot of the humour in Happiness 101 relies on its ability to surprise the audience, and in the interests of people enjoying it as thoroughly as I did, I’m trying not to reveal too many of the details.

The show, however, reaches its pinnacle near the end in an amazing medley where the Professor realises her lifelong dream.  This moment is equal parts hilarious and spectacular, and I almost wish the show had ended at that point – it’s so good that anything after that feels like coming down.

Trickey was excellent in this show. She hits some amazing notes, assisted by accompanist Rowland Brache, who not only played beautifully, but also engaged in some lively banter with his esteemed colleague, much to the audience’s amusement.  Direction by Kim Edwards also deserves applause for making great use of the venue’s idiosyncrasies and keeping the action lively and varied.

I genuinely cannot say enough nice things about this show. Do yourself a favour and get on board. I can’t guarantee you’ll learn anything about happiness, but you will definitely be happier for seeing it.

Happiness 101: Laughter is the Best Pseudo-Science! is on at The Butterfly Club, South Melbourne, from 13th to 15th October at 7pm, and 16th October at 6pm.

Bookings through www.thebutterflyclub.com or 9696 2000.

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