Review: Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, at the Young Vic

Juliet Stevenson as Winnie. Photo Johan Persson

Juliet Stevenson as Winnie. Photo Johan Persson

This is going to be less a review than any other. Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – not to be confused with Happy Days the musical, currently on tour – is, to me, completely disarming. Part Rorschach test, part word porn, part the noises of one’s dying sanity, it’s hallucinatory as much as anything. It’s intoxicating, unknowable, almost sinful. It’s hard to know where my critical eye (as weak and easily seduced as it is) lost its way.

Winnie talks. She has nothing but talk. Willie is present but out of (her) sight. Do people exist when we don’t see them? Is our voice meaningful if no one hears it? Is death real if no one witnesses it?

Happy Days  is some times discussed as a triumph of resilience. But isn’t that too straight a reading for such unfathomable play? Continue reading