WAF Young Reviewer - Leoni Amandin's Happy Mortalday

1st July 2021

By Anoushay Dar

Have you ever thought about what your funeral would be like? What people might think or do after you die?

Dark humour sprinkled with puns that constantly make you laugh at their absurdity- Happy Mortalday is something worth experiencing, whether that is in the comfort of your close circle at your birthday or in the immersive space of The Ram Inn pub - it is definitely a subject worth addressing.

I walked into this thinking how I would leave in tears of sadness but rather there I was surrounded with joy. The taboo matter is explored using with funeral puns worth cracking a smile for, expertly executed by Amandin. So, whilst being a one woman show, you are never tired or even put in a melancholy mood, everything is about the celebration of the future and most importantly, life. Leoni incorporates the typical themes of a birthday party whilst never straying away from the original topic; passing on information about how funerals are dealt with in different cultures. She linked sound with expression through movement; perhaps showcasing the journey of life, perhaps the flow of grief. It felt like a conversation, making me feel at ease; the sense of fear that is deep rooted within you is lifted through the constant comedy and satire, the audience fully immersed and laughing. Leoni Amandin achieves her goal of discovering new perspectives and relieving the audience’s fears through interaction.

It concluded with a thoughtful discussion with Sabrina Singh, a death doula, the audience able to interact with her and understand her line of work as she facilitates dialogue about funerals - you no longer see the ugliness and dread of death followed by funeral planning, but rather the beauty and excitement. It is truly a moment of pure realisation, even at my age of seventeen.

Unfortunately, this subject does get left in the air, thus I find Leoni's creative exploration of planning your own funeral to be an interesting ice breaker to family, friends and even yourself. Take into account Leoni Amandin’s own words which definitely left an impact on the audience, “perhaps instead of a minute of silence, let’s try a minute of applause.”

You can look forward to Leoni’s show on Friday 2nd of July 2021.