Happy Dave (3 stars)

This article is from 2016

Happy Dave

He came, he raved, he got arrested

Happy Dave used to be an irritating DJ, full of male entitlement and misplaced idealism. Twenty years later, and he is a salesman with a suit and slip-on shoes. Deciding that the youth have no sense of rebellion, he encourages them to become promoters of illegal raves. Interspersing the scenes with some terrible raps, which are the voice of the police telling the people to stop having fun, this new script tries to unpick the revival of the underground party scene.

Rather like Happy Dave himself, Oli Forsyth's script starts off full of promise, before devolving into a shallow gesture of resistance. The excellent cast make the most of their characters, although none of them are explored in any detail: Dave's desire to relive the past is under-examined, since the flashbacks suggest a man who never really knows when to stop. Recasting this as heroic leaves the final scene incoherent, and the path from Dave the square to Dave the hero is mechanical.

While the script can't decide whether it wants to be a character study of a group of would-be rebels or a passionate call to party, there is an energy in the rave scenes, and even in the arguments between the crew, that hints at a dynamic company at least willing to address complex ideas.

Pleasance Courtyard, run ended.

Happy Dave

  • 3 stars

Smoke & Oakum Theatre Dave used to be a DJ, and not just any DJ, he spent his 20s filling fields and dropping beats for thousands of young revellers flocking to the 90s rave scene. All good things must come to an end so now, aged 45, he finds himself working in an advertising firm selling things he hates. However, old…