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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke


🎭 The Happiness Index / Ten Thankless Years  

📍 The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2TR

🗓 Thursday 16th May 2024



Where to begin with this review! This double-header of shows from supreme musical comedy duo Jonny & The Baptists was an incredible night of entertainment, and is currently playing on The Drum stage at Theatre Royal Plymouth.

This socialist double act of Jonny and Paddy, dressed in boiler suits and Christmas socks, took to the stage to tell the story of their depression over the last decade or so, and takes place over five acts. Each act relates to a different Tory Prime Minister and is even more hilarious than the one which precedes it.

This is probably one of the most random performances I've ever been to, but also one of the most relatable! The unpredictability of bursting into song mid-sentence and merging old advert jingles for Calgon (you know, the product that washing machines live longer with) with the works of Stephen Sondheim was like seeing elements of my mind represented on the stage!

The neuro-delightful pair are frantically engaging from the start and their natural chemistry oozes from the stage as nothing and no-one is safe from their amusing onslaught as they pick holes in the entire concept of Gwyneth Paltrow's company Goop and discuss Boris Johnson, Britain's Wario, as he and the Conservatives break the NHS.

Amongst all the chaos there is real rawness and honesty which is really refreshing. We as the audience are invited into the depths of their psyche and we enjoy laughter in tough situations. This insane story, which ends with Jonny in a dress on a chair pretending to be Paddy's deceased mother, is summed up perfectly by Jonny who says "It's a weird show isn't it?" Yes Jonny it is, but I wouldn't want it any other way!

The second act is a celebration of the ten years they've been working together (since 2010!) and is mainly a selection of their comedy songs which is utterly brilliant. During this act they question whether there's even a left wing anymore, come out as republicans (but not in the American sense), tell us what they would do if they were God and try and work out whether it's paint or something quite different in buckets!

I honestly haven't laughed so much in a very long time, and I'm not ashamed to say that I even snorted in public! When they concluded the evening with all the punchlines they hadn't had time for it was gloriously random.

The Happiness Index / Ten Thankless Years continues at Theatre Royal Plymouth until Saturday 18th May and is a must-see show. Click here to grab the last remaining tickets.

I cannot wait to see what's next for Jonny & The Baptists and am already eagerly anticipating their return to Plymouth.

Neill Kovacic-Clarke


All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest, fair and free from influence. Theatre is subjective and it is important to remember that all views expressed are just those of one reviewer. 

My ticket for this performance of The Happiness Index / Ten Thankless Years was gifted by the Theatre Royal Plymouth who invited me to watch the show in exchange for my honest review. The fact that my ticket was gifted played no part in the content of my review or the star rating given.

The Theatre Royal Plymouth is the principle home of the performing arts in the South West and is the largest and most attended regional producing theatre in the country. Their mission is to develop and deepen people's engagement with pioneering creativity in Plymouth and the South West, delivering experiences that spark delight, expression and fulfilment. The venue offers three performance spaces of various sizes, the largest being The Lyric which accommodates the big touring productions. The Drum and The Lab are smaller, intimate spaces and often offer pioneering productions.


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