Project HaHa, Summerhall, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Remote Control
Molly Nicholson (producer), Matilde Marangoni (set designer)
Christine Ryndak, Petra Casale
Running time

We are told to smile simply because it’s free. We are told that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. Society’s obsession with happiness may have gone too far.

Project HaHa, Remote Control’s new show, explores the darker side of our ever-growing quest to be happy. Through absurd images, physicality and voice-overs, they transport the audience into a hallucinogenic trip to try and reach ultimate goal: true happiness.

Inspired by research into what people think of when they say the word "happiness", Remote Control combine multiple elements to create their manic 50-minute show. Whispered to and stared down by frenzied smiles, the audience is subjected to a whole host of absurdities.

Where activities such as picking flowers, singing to yourself or making lemonade would usually seem fairly normal, Project HaHa twists these into something unnervingly grotesque.

The beginning of the show is promising, as a girl in a flowery dress smiles enthusiastically and explores the set. All the while a video plays of another girl in a white room getting ready (or trying to) but she only succeeds in lying around in her pants.

It is clear from the offset that the show is going to be full of uncomfortably forced happiness, however the absurdity escalates to the point of ridiculousness.

There are moments of amusement which charge the piece with the promise of satire, however mostly it comes across as a mess of nonsensicality. Each section grew in absurdity and it felt as though they had thrown together every idea they had, amounting to something far too fragmented to keep hold of an audience.

Some of the movement felt unnecessary and didn’t add anything to the performance and certain sections such as what seemed to be a snippet from ‘The Ring’ were simply out of place.

As usual with Remote Control their pieces often divide audiences and the show does have promise. With some refinement it could end up as an effective absurdist satire of our desire to be constantly happy.

Performances run until 30th August, 19.50.