Set in a West Yorkshire mining village, John Godber’s Happy Jack is about the lives of Jack and Liz Munroe. Inspired by Godbers own grandparents, the play follows the couples 40-year marriage through the good times and bad, telling snippets of their lives together, the love, sadness, anger, joy and conflict.
Balancing humour with some tough realities, it highlights the lives of working miners and the terrible legacies that many were left with long after leaving the pits.
Told uniquely in reverse, we first meet Jack and Liz in their sixties not long before their deaths, and the play ends as Jack asks Liz out for the first time. All effectively set to the music of their time: Mario Lanza, Alma Cogan, The Ink Spots and Johnny Ray among others.
One of Godber’s earlier works, Happy Jack has found itself suddenly relevant and powerful, showing a fascinating snapshot of a lifestyle that may never be with us again, a way of life lost forever – annual family seaside holidays, coach trips, working men’s clubs, Mr & Mrs competitions, Blackpool rock, saucy seasidepostcards and organ recitals in ballrooms.
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