by Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn.

Soho Theatre 21 Dean Street W1D 3NE To 17 October 2015.
Mon-Sat 7.15pm; Mat 3 Oct 2pm run sold out.
Runs: 1hr 15min No interval.

TICKETS: 020 7478 0100.
Review: Carole Woddis 19 June.

Positively inspirational.
Mental health is one of society’s final taboos, particularly where men are concerned. Fake It `Til You Make It is a show whose time has come. Didn’t Jeremy Corbyn even frontline the issue in his Conference speech?

Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn, though, are ahead of him. A sell-out on the Edinburgh Fringe and welcomed with open arms in Australia, they handle a subject that affects millions.

Admitting to clinical depression, however, can be signing your `unemployable’ ticket. For Tim Grayburn, it was also tantamount to declaring he was no longer a man. Real men don’t talk about their emotions, he’d learnt. Fake It `Til You Make It is as much about the challenging of gender stereotypes (hers as well as his) as about a love affair and how love can, and does, transcend the darkest psychological nights of the soul.

In many senses, this is a crusading show. But that makes it sound worthy. And in the first place, Kimmings is an award-winning performance artist and the show that she and her real life partner Grayburn (he works in advertising and had never been on stage before this show) present is a bon bouffe of artistry.

Light and self-deprecating, witty and playful, it’s also very, very moving, mixing recordings of his journey with her discovery of his `illness’ and subsequent occurrences, with a collection of slight but powerful visual metaphors.

In the midst of a severe breakdown, he for example, wears a terrifying head-dress of coiled rope as if his very consciousness were occupied by serpents (earlier he’s referred to suicidal thoughts of hanging from a tree and a bedroom window).

A show built together, it exudes trust and tenderness in a partnership of rare complementary spirit and mutual support. When Grayburn serenades a now heavily pregnant Kimmings with his Duvet Day song, plucking unsteadily on his recently learnt guitar, her devotion, his love, are palpable.

A good-luck Japanese doll sits at the front of the stage to guard them, and care for us. A show to kindle the heart and sustain many others going through similar emotional despair.

Performers: Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn.

Director: Bryony Kimmings.
Designer: Amelia Jane Hankin.
Lighting: Nao Nagai.
Sound/Music: Tom Parkinson, Matt Lewis.
Costume: David Curtis Ring, Olivia Deur.
Art Director: David Curtis Ring.
Props: David Curtis Ring.
Dramaturg: Nina Steiger.

Commissioned by Southbank Centre (London), Theatre Works (Melbourne) with
Soho Theatre. Supported by Dance Xchange, Arts Council England , Peggy Ramsay Foundation and donations by `brilliant people on Kickstarter…’.
Presented by Bryony Kimmings Ltd, Soho Theatre and Avalon Promotions.

First staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2015,
First performance at Soho Theatre 22 September 2015.

2015-10-02 21:49:47

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