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Hope Has a Happy Meal (NHB Modern Plays)

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When protagonist Hope lands at Nike International Airport after 24 years abroad, she knows everything has changed.

Hope has a Happy Meal plays at The Royal Court’s Jerwood Theatre Upstairs space until Saturday 08 July. The piece runs out of steam before Isla gets a meaningful conclusion, but to Malone’s credit she handles the final scene perfectly; and made me care more for Isla than any other character.

But her visit becomes considerably more dramatic after she meets waitress Isla (Mary Malone) – who’s fleeing with her baby nephew from his father, a police officer who she says killed her sister – and a suicidal, soon-to-be-former park ranger, Alex (Nima Taleghani). Perhaps the most notable example of that is in Lucy Morrison’s direction which is creative, intuitive, and dynamic. When Hope befriends Isla, a young woman raising her baby nephew, the two quickly find themselves on the run.

Photograph: Helen Murray View image in fullscreen Cheerfully fluorescent unease … Laura Checkley in Hope Has a Happy Meal. This show contains strobe, haze, smoking on stage, flashing lights, very loud and sudden noise, including gun shots, strong language and staged violence that some may find distressing. Hope (Laura Checkley) tells a long joke about a frustrated angel caught up in heavenly bureaucracy to the person sitting next to her on her flight.Naomi Dawson’s set design uses height to separate spaces and it is incredibly effective, providing flexible building blocks for their creative collaborators to play with. He gives the actors lots to work with, and Royal Court Associate Director Lucy Morrison adds physical flair and playfulness to the piece. Nima Taleghani is entirely loveable as Ali, the forest ranger who Hope and Isla discover trying to commit suicide because there is no forest to look after.

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