Ginger Johnson's Happy Place (4 stars)

This article is from 2019

Ginger Johnson's Happy Place

credit: Holly Revell

Cabaret confessional that explores the pressures of coping with everyday life

As one of the creative forces behind acclaimed drag collective Sink the Pink, Ginger Johnson is well-known among cabaret scenes up and down the country. But with Happy Place, she takes a step away from all-singing, all-dancing cabaret to offer a show that is raw, emotional and utterly arresting.

While the title and premise may lead you to think you're in for a positive and cheerful ride with Ginger in the driver's seat, what transpires is a peek inside the psyche of someone truly struggling. We're in Johnson's happy place, where there are no terfs, Tories or telephones allowed. Instead, she is showered with a literal suitcase of awards, has her own tech person and has made her own furry pals in the form of puppets Phillip Seymore Hoffman and Simon. But all is not perfect as the pressures of life outside the happy place start to encroach on our hero, leading her down a rabbit hole of anxiety and self-hate.

Ginger's excellent songs, including her rendition of Gossip's 'Standing in the Way of Control', audience sing-alongs, comedy and cute puppets are not enough to mask the more serious undertones. As she slowly deteriorates as the show goes on, the happy place and its contents becomes a more ominous form of escapism, highlighting the price of trying to cope in a world where homophobia, climate change and hatred reign supreme.

Pleasance Dome, until 26 Aug (not 19), 9.40pm, £10–£12 (£9–£11).

Ginger Johnson's Happy Place

  • 4 stars

Ginger Johnson The alt-right is rising, permafrost is melting, and every other sea turtle has a plastic straw jammed up its nostril… It’s a bit much, to be honest. In a valiant, ridiculous attempt to cope with the increasing horror of everyday life, Ginger Johnson packs her bags and poses the question: how far are we…