In a dressing room at the Edinburgh Fringe, a cabaret star Ginger Johnson collapses under the stress of alt-right politics, global warming and plastic in the oceans. While the audience observes CCTV footage of the stage crew attempting to revive her, Johnson has in fact retreated to her happy place.
Trussed up in an uber-glam frilly catsuit of green and pink lurex, Johnson is in her safe space, free of Tories, trans-exclusionary radical feminists and telephones.
Johnson is perhaps best known as part of the queer collective Sink The Pink, so you’d expect that there are many layers to this ostensibly light-hearted look at anxiety disorder. Johnson’s hi-octane confessional raises an arched eyebrow at the attempts we make to escape reality.
In her happy place, she is inundated with awards, befriended by furry puppets and leads us in a mantra of mindless happy tunes. But like Dorothy, the dangers only get greater as she steps closer toward Emerald City.
If anything, Ginger Johnson’s Happy Place encourages us to face our fears and deal with them head-on, in the real world. Despite some erratic technical cues, this is an entertaining and uplifting cabaret with the aim of helping us all face our fears.