Reviewer: Simon Topping
Laura Lexx bounces on to the stage in the joyful knowledge of being on “home turf”. The Brighton audience quickly warms to this likeable and funny performer as she begins to set out her stall and make us giggle in the process.
Lexx starts with memories from her childhood in the early 1990s. Days camping with her family; the difficulties of being in continued close proximity with her mother and tales of big torches with massive batteries. These are all things that puzzle millennials and make the rest of the audience laugh heartily. Thankfully, after a quick straw poll of the room, Lexx establishes that the majority of the throng are in their thirties and forties and therefore in on the joke too; it is heartwarming nostalgia comedy, well executed and finely attuned to a good-natured and appreciative crowd.
As the performance goes on the layers of complexity in the show are revealed. The main premise of Trying, we find out, is the anxiety and depression Lexx has suffered due to the trouble her and husband Tom have had Trying for a baby. Lexx calls it postnatal depression, without ever producing the baby and explains how she has named this depression, just like one names a child. It can be with her at the most inappropriate times and has, in the past, made sure she is firmly routed inside the house, giving her a high degree of stress about how to communicate with people in the outside world. She has also been saturated by obsessive thoughts about how personkind is destroying the world and its environment.
Great anecdotes about incidents occurring in Lush and Debenhams as well as the judgements from parents around conceiving make the laughter flow in an hour that proves to be both fabulously hilarious and poignantly touching.
Pushing through any taboos connected with depression, Lexx goes on to advocate the need for further discussion on mental health issues and advocate the use of antidepressants. It is a brave topic for stand-up comedy and briefly brings Lexx to tears at several times within her monologue.
Trying is a destigmatising emotional journey, interspersed with the recapturing of a particular moment in time; the essence of one family holiday in France in 1994. Above all, it is very funny and engaging.
Lexx has an easy, likeable, charming manner which guides the watcher through the balance of light and darker moments well. The crowd are with her all the way; she is a charismatic and entertaining performer; never a victim but the simple storyteller of her journey; an expedition into high mirth and thought-provoking introspection.
Reviewed on 17th November 2018 | Image: Contributed