EVEN when she had her back to me, I find Maxine Peake utterly mesmerising.
As Winnie she finds herself buried in an imposing grassy mound, which revolves at a snail's pace in the middle of the stage.
What a privilege it was to watch an actress at the top of her craft, infusing every asprct of the script, from the playful to the poignant, with so much emotion.
If ever a performer deserves a post show drink, it's this disarmingly down to earth Lancashire lass. An ordinary girl blessed with an extraordinary talent.
This brings me on to what the play's about. Being a Samuel Beckett piece you're invited to bring your own interpretation to the table. Happy Days for me, is about a couple who have grown apart, whose relationship has gone stale.
Willie, played by an excellent if largely silent David Crellin, shares her unlikely prison. But he's there largely in body rather than in spirit, needing to be coaxed, like you would coax a child at times, simply to talk to her. Winnie, on the other hand, revels in a good old verbal flourish, often aching for happier times.
But maybe I'm writing this as someone conditioned into taking away 'a meaning' from a play when there are occasions, this one included, where 'the meaning' of the piece, the true meaning, will remain forever elusive.
Director Sarah Frankcom, designer Naomi Dawson, along with Peake and Crellin serve up an evening's theatre that is deeply affecting, not a word of Beckett's at times beautifully evocative dialogue gets wasted.
Highly recommended - just don't expect a piece of theatre that plays by the rules.
* Until June 23. The box office is on 0161 833 9833. Star rating - ****