Artist(s):Bryony Kimmingsand Tim Grayburn
Venue: Theatre Tent
Created by: Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn
Reviewer: Kris Hallett
Bryony Kimmings, is an artist who seems to be growing up. Past shows have dealt with the foolishness of being young, from trying to track down who it was that gave her an STI, while asking the audience to trim their pubic hair, which became a moustache (Sex Idiot), to 7 Day Drunk,which explored her dependency on booze. There is a sense that this queen of provocation is maturing, visibly showing with child here and in a committed long term relationship. This new work, co-created by her boyfriend, Tim Grayburn, explores his own dealing with clinical depression and how this has affected them both as indiviuals and as a collective. It’s a more mature work but still has all that explosion of honesty that has marked her out over the past few years.
Grayburn, a one night stand who turned into the love of her life, seems to have the world at his feet: a job as an account manager for a top advertising firm, Calvin Klein catalogue model looks but with a history of mental illness which he, like many men, has never talked about. Discovering the anti-depressants by accident, Kimmings asks how can a man who on the surface seems so happy, kind and positive, be taking drugs designed to stop him from feeling. Tackling it together we explore the tender moments of his revealing how it all started to his gradual episode as he weaves himself off the drugs.
Grayburn is not a natural performer but this is weaved into the work so that his awkwardness in performance becomes endearing rather than tiresome. Moments that on paper read glib and embarrassing, such as an interpretative dance on the symptoms of clinical depression, become in performance the only natural way of expressing it.
It’s billed as a love story, and that’s what we get: a couple very much in love, tackling an illness that may not have a cure but can be controlled. It is bracingly honest, funny and heartbreakingly moving; it is a very fine work indeed, probably the finest of her career to date. As the audience rose as one at the end, tears choking us and them, it is clear that this is a tale that affects us all, either as someone who suffers from or knows someone that does. It is less angry and edgy then her previous work as she enters a new phase in her development. It is also her most important.