With the news a constant reminder of all the doom and gloom that’s going on in the world right now, we’re all in need of some happiness. Thankfully Joanna Joyful and Barbara Beaming, two Doctors of Happiness certified from the Russell Crowe School of Calm, are here to help. They’ve given up their lunch break to remind colleagues of the importance of a little happiness, in a bid to boost productivity. Welcome to Come Hygge Yourself, a spoof seminar with a difference.
The brainchild of Kerry Fitzgerald and Lise Knudsen (who play Jo and Barbs), co-founders of Purple Ostrich Productions, Come Hygge Yourself is a 45-minute immersive comedy treat. From the moment the audience walks into the Kings Head Theatre they immediately become part of the action, the colleagues of Joanna and Barbs. Over the course of the seminar the pair take a look at the history of happiness, the way it’s promoted in today’s society and the Danish tradition of Hygge (taking pleasure from the ordinary and inexpensive things in life), through a series of tasks, games and ‘happy news’ bulletins; and it soon becomes clear that the two aren’t necessarily practicing what they preach.
Come Hygge Yourself is crammed full of awkward humour that wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of The Office. Recently single, a heartbroken Barbs consoles herself by snacking on chocolate and giving out her number; Joanna finds solace in a bottle of wine; while their colleague Jack from Accounting (Jack Spicer) is left in charge of sound and lighting and doesn’t always get it right. But Come Hygge Yourself is more than just a comedy; it’s educational too and raises some interesting questions about the quest for happiness and the motivations behind it.
Kerry Fitzgerald and Lise Knudsen work well together, convincing as the colleagues who are struggling to hold it together. Both have excellent comic timing and they do incredibly well to remain poker-faced during the more chaotic moments during the show.
Audience participation is strongly encouraged (and sometimes rewarded) and though the thought of joining in fills this particular reviewer with dread, in Come Hygge Yourself it works. The tasks are also fun (especially when accompanied by a rendition of Seal’s Kiss From A Rose) and add to the piece. If there’s one criticism it’s that the show is too short and can feel a little rushed at times – in future Barbs and Joanna may wish to consider an extended lunchtime session to fully develop some of the ideas raised.
Come Hygge Yourself is a unique, thought-provoking and hilariously awkward production that’s guaranteed to raise a smile. If only all work seminars were as entertaining as this!
For more information about Purple Ostrich Productions visit https://www.facebook.com/purpleostrich/
Photo credit: Sophie Kenny