When brothers Lyall (Joel Samuels) and Danny (William Troughton) were children, they were discovered locked up and abandoned in chicken coop. Rescued and rehabilitated they have become curiosities within Australian culture. TV presenter Pru (Lisa Dillon) has brought them into the limelight but it is now time for them to go out into the real world and get on with their lives.
Happy New feels like a black comedy without as many laughs as it should have. When someone throws a roast chicken at them I did have to stifle a fit of giggles in the otherwise silent auditorium.
The characters are given long speeches which border on surreal, contemporary, poetry and is laced with melodrama the reason for which only becomes clear much later in the play. In fact the script drips with simile and metaphor and is beautifully performed.
It is refreshing in that sense but there was something a little too surreal which felt alienating and maybe explains the lack of laughs - you are not sure what you are watching. The play feels slightly unbalanced with most of the exposition towards the end when it feels too late to really have an impact.
There was much that I liked about Happy New but it would probably benefit from a second look to see if greater insight made it sing at the top of its voice. It runs at the Trafalgar Studios 2 until 29 June.
This is a cheap shot and I'm slightly embarrassed but only slightly. Lisa Dillon is a former beau of Patrick Stewart who was in Richard II with Mr W.