DramaNorth WestReview

Fake it ‘til you Make It – Contact, Manchester

Writer: Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn

Director: Bryony Kimmings

Reviewer: Holly Sharp

Opening with a song and jig by an underwear-clad couple wearing baskets on their head, Fake it ‘til you Make it is, sorry about this, get the buckets out, one of those typically horrendous ‘gross’ love stories. Well, that’s what performer Bryony Kimmings assures us anyway, before introducing her fellow performer Tim Grayburn, her real-life fiancé and a former suited-up advertisting exec performing in his first show. And sure, inasmuch as ‘gross’ involves raving about your partner’s insatiably high sex drive and proclaiming that they’re ‘sent from heaven’, then Kimmings might have a point as she gushes about Grayburn and they grab a cheeky hump onstage.

On the flip-side, discussion of your partner’s recurrent thoughts of death, public breakdowns and ongoing struggles with chronic depression is less the stuff of nauseating facebook fodder and something altogether more honest and moving that would never grace the filtered dream lives portrayed on social media.

Rather than the threatened vomit-inducing slush-fest, Kimmings’ and Grayburn’s love story is an unflinching, yet refreshingly unconventional confrontation of an illness and topic that remains largely taboo and unspoken, particularly when it concerns men. Never once descending into self-indulgence and interspersing searingly honest snippets of audio recordings with Grayburn conducted in their living room with song, dance and the outright bizzarre, Fake it ‘til you Make it impeccably balances the serious and the surreal, the hilarious and the heartfelt, to portray an experience of mental illness as felt by those suffering, and those who suffer with the pain of watching the suffering of those they love.

If there’s any criticism at all, it’s that you want to get to know them more, it feels like Kimmings and Grayburn are holding something back, though it’s fair to admit that it’s maybe just too greedy and intrusive to expect more from a pair who are already giving their audience so much.

Runs until 10th March 2016

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The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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