Much as I love the buzz of the Fringe, particularly round the hotspots such as the Pleasance and George Square, it is sometimes nice to get away from the hustling crowds and explore a show in a venue off the beaten track.

So I was glad to set off to a real life Army Reserve Centre in the New Town to see The Happiness Project.

I was warmly greeted by serving soldiers and found I could have had some army style food from the Field Kitchen for a quarter of the price I had paid earlier in George Square! The mess bar and beer garden also serve the cheapest drinks in town – two quid for a glass of wine! I will definitely be returning.

Performed by a diverse and inclusive cast, this show made me smile, laugh and cry. The Happiness Project explores our need for non-sexual physical contact in a social media era. Vivid in colour and performance, the five cast members were engaging and absorbing throughout. I allowed myself to be pulled along by their candid yet vulnerable narrative as the mental and physical effects of digital connection were explored. 

Many of the younger members of the audience were visibly affected by the stories, identifying in a way I can’t about growing up in a digital era. The realisation of how easy it is for younger generations to hide away from what can be an intimidating world, curating a strange but safe digital version of happiness, cut me like a sharp knife. 

My recommendation – take a wander down here about lunchtime. Turn your phones off. Enjoy the bargain food and have a drink in the beer garden. Then watch this show and at the end pull your nearest and dearest close for the hug of their lives. 

Jennifer Kennedy
Diva Mag