Monday, 30 November 2015
Tuesday, 13 October 2015
Performance artist Bryony Kimmings never shies away from taboo subjects. Instead, she grabs them for a full-on embrace for the world to see while changing perceptions and encouraging fresh debate in the process.The first time I saw Kimmings perform was back in 2010 with the raw and very funny Sex Idiot where she explored her sexual history after contracting her first STI. Her latest work, Fake it ‘til you Make it, opens up a frank discussion on clinical depression and social pressures on men.
For this Edinburgh Fringe sell-out production, Kimmings collaborates with her partner Tim Grayburn who works in advertising and has depression. Grayburn had kept his condition a secret for a long time when Kimmings discovered antidepressants in his bag six months into their relationship. Fake it ‘til you Make it is a very real love story darkly comic, frighteningly heartbreaking and warmly tender in turn.
Spoken word confessions of the heart and mind precede and follow daft yet poignant musical dance numbers - the opener has Kimmings and Grayburn, clad in just underwear with straw bags on their heads, shake maracas and side-step in time while Kimmings sings a protest to being sent to the doctors just to be prescribed more pills. Props delicately compliment the storytelling - when exploring the beginning of the relationship, a huge sheet is hoisted up with ropes and pulleys with a window formed in the middle to replicate a cosy love nest which later collapses abruptly when challenges arise.
For most of the performance, Grayburn’s face is covered by a prop or mask, such as a cloud or a twisted ball of rope, which adds to the sense of vulnerability, confusion and the distance placed between himself and others. When Grayburn finally reveals his face and talks directly to the audience, a usually simple gesture becomes powerful and moving. One of the most intimate moments shared on stage is Grayburn and Kimmings sitting on the floor with her holding the microphone up to him while he plays guitar and timidly sings his especially penned Duvet Song to her.
Fake it ‘til you Make it raises awareness of issues surrounding mental health in the most heartwarming way. Tim Grayburn explains in the show that the main reason why he agreed to be involved in the project was in the hope that it would help other sufferers of depression to talk to friends, family and organisations. Both contributors’ email addresses were provided in the programmes and so far they have had an overwhelming response from members of the public who were thankful for the show helping them to finally pluck up the courage to talk to somebody. Fake it ‘til you Make it is a true force for good as will as being a bloody clever and witty work of art.
Until 17th October at Soho Theatre
For more details about the Fake it 'til you Make it tour visit www.bryonyandtim.com
Sunday, 2 August 2015
London in summer may have been a mostly damp disappointment so far but inside Sadler’s Wells it is sizzling hot. Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man: Bizet’s Carmen Re-Imagined, originally staged in 2000, is the most raw and adult of Bourne’s cinematically-inspired masterpieces. Gone is the suppressed passion struggling to burst through very British manners in Bourne’s classics Swan Lake and Cinderella - The Car Man is an upfront Stateside bit of rough.
Saturday, 11 July 2015
Richard Bean’s The Mentalists returns to the London stage for the first time since its 2002 debut at the National Theatre. In this revival on the other side of the Thames, comic and producer Stephen Merchant (The Office, An Idiot Abroad) is given his first theatrical outing as the frustrated and excitable suburban middle manager Ted. Joining Merchant is Steffan Rhodri (Gavin & Stacey) as Ted’s entrusted friend hairdresser Morrie who repeats fantastical stories about a multi-talented father and sexual prowess with women.
Saturday, 27 June 2015
Nottingham Playhouse’s innovative production of 1984, adapted by Robert Icke and Duncan MacMillan, returns to London’s Playhouse Theatre following a successful year. George Orwell’s dystopian novel was published in 1949 and still feels highly relevant to the present day with Edward Snowden’s revelations, of NSA and GCHQ surveillance activities, and the Communications Data Bill which could potentially pass under the current UK government.
Sunday, 7 June 2015
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty is not just the latest V&A blockbuster exhibition - it’s immersive theatre from another planet. Upon arrival visitors stand face to face with a large photographic portrait of McQueen that slowly contorts and transforms into a gold skull - it’s a bold and unflinching tribute to the late designer that keeps its audience spellbound. Exploring the late McQueen’s groundbreaking and unfortunately short lived career, each room envelopes you with a thematic dream that can simultaneously fascinate and terrify just like the fearless creations on show. Dark, oppressive walls of skulls and bones form the small Romantic Primitivism room which leads to the grand opulence of gold and red in the Romantic Nationalism room. McQueen’s multifaceted world is one of uncompromising contradictions that command your attention and Savage Beauty thrusts you into a thrilling journey of a rare talent who gave fashion a much needed kick up the backside into the 21st Century.
Thursday, 28 May 2015
After an extraordinary 39 year career, covering great works and breaking new ground in ballet and contemporary dance, Sylvie Guillem made the decision to retire on the year of her 50th birthday. Life In Progress is a farewell programme which includes two new works by Akram Khan and Russell Maliphant created especially for Guillem. As the title suggests, Life In Progress is about continuations rather than abrupt endings and Guillem demonstrates this by giving herself new challenges rather than return to much visited works (Guillem has never shied away from new and daring experiences such as leaving the Royal Ballet for contemporary dance at Sadler’s Wells in 2003).
Sunday, 17 May 2015
Pedro Almodóvar’s 1988 film Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown has the ingredients for a great musical theatre adaptation - love, passion, heartache, drama, humour and strong complex characters. Transferring a highly revered cinematic modern classic onto the stage has its risks as a balance has to be met between being true to the soul of the original yet allowing new interpretations to come through.