Matt Haig is one of my favourite writers. I read Reasons To Stay Alive a few years ago after suffering from depression and loved it (it inspired me to write my own story of recovery from mental health issues, Awakened). I really enjoy his writing style, humour and always learn a lot from his books. Then I started on his fiction, with the excellent How To Stop Time and The Humans. I’m yet to read Notes on a Nervous Planet, his latest musings on the effects of anxiety on society and how to cope in a chaotic world but it’s in my Amazon wish list. So I was excited when I read that Reasons To Stay Alive had been adapted for the stage.
The book starts with Matt’s breakdown in Ibiza (where he was close to throwing himself off a cliff) and charts his return to the UK, living with his parents and not being able to do simple things like go to the corner shop without having a panic attack. Luckily he has the support of his girlfriend (now wife). It’s like a guidebook where he shares lots of insights and advice regarding recovery from depression alongside moments of humour and hope, proving that you can still live a great life despite having mental health issues.
Adapted for the stage and directed by Jonathan Watkins, and written by April de Angelis the play features Phil Cheadle as Older Matt, Mike Noble as Younger Matt and a strong supporting cast. Expect plenty of music and movement, as well as strong language (well, we are talking about life and death). And Matt’s thoughts on the book becoming a play?
The production opens on 18 September (previews from 13 September) and runs at Sheffield Theatres until 28 September before touring to Bristol, Huddersfield, Newcastle, Manchester, York and Leeds.
To buy tickets for the Northern Stage from Tuesday 15th October to Saturday 19th October click here