Ginger Johnson's Happy Place
- Arusa Qureshi
- 12 August 2019
This article is from 2019
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).