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Seymour Mace: Happypotamus
Published on Friday, 19 August 2011

3 stars

The Stand Comedy Club (venue website)
3 Aug, 3:30pm-4:30pm; 5-14, 16-28 Aug, 2:20pm-3:20pm
Reviewed by Alice de Cent

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

Seymour Mace had a bad time at the 2010 Fringe, and he’s back this year to tell the story of his journey through depression. Happypotamus picks up this time last year, when Mace began his quest for happiness, and brings us up to date in an examination of the many places he has since tried to find it.

Unsurprisingly, considering the nature of the subject matter, there are moments that are almost painfully personal for the audience. Mace is candid about still being in the process of fighting depression, but his offbeat view of the world is delightfully accessible and there are many laughs to be had.

Mace’s delivery sometimes veers away from comic frustration and incredulity and into the realm of catharsis. The performance is brave and energetic, but sometimes comes across as shouting at the audience, which makes for some incongruent silences between sections.

Examined dispassionately, Happypotamus doesn’t cover much new ground – Mace’s criticisms of society and everyday frustrations are far from original.  But his own experiences lend a specific perspective, and his honest and self-deprecating stories are heartfelt and amusing.   

Mace is at his best in the realms of pure silliness, and his off-the-wall drawings and poems are some of the show’s highlights. There is also an amusing bit of audience participation that even the most retiring audience members couldn’t fail to enjoy.

The courageous decision to discuss his own experiences with mental health issues is commendable, and Seymour Mace’s show is an open and frank portrayal.  But it also goes to show that, in the pursuit of happiness, there is bound to be a lot of laughter.

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