Fake It Til You Make It, Traverse Theatre, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Bryony Kimmings Ltd, Soho Theatre and Avalon Promotions
Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn (writers), Bryony Kimmings (director), Tom Parkinson and Matt Lewis (sound design and music), Nao Nagai (lighting design)
Bryony Kimmings, Tim Grayburn
Running time

Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn are, and are not, a perfectly ordinary couple. Tim’s ‘clinical’ depression and anxiety is a feature of the lives of an alarmingly large number of otherwise unremarkable males in this and many other societies.

Grayburn suffered for several years until Kimmings discovered his medication and encouraged him to discuss his condition. The ultimate result of his decision is framed by ‘Fake it til you make it’.

Which makes what Kimmings and Grayburn give us sound worthy rather than necessarily worthwhile, and the antithesis of what is intended and on offer.

A performance artist and theatre maker, Kimmings takes the potential of the situation and creates something that is sometimes magical and always engaging from circumstances that most find difficult to discuss, leave alone imagine.

Using song, dance, a good luck doll and a considerable degree of personal revelation, Kimmings and Grayburn take us on an extensive tour of the effects of depression on people’s lives – for although this is necessarily a personal story, we are left in no doubt as to how many lives are impacted by mental distress.

Denial of this reality, however, is remarkably common. Rather in the manner that homelessness or unemployment – both triggers of mental illness – are seen as somehow the ‘fault’ of those who experience such misfortunes, those with mental health issues are frequently regarded as somehow ‘bringing their condition on themselves’ and as lesser beings because of this simplification.

Using a devastating combination of feather-light wit and blazing honesty, Kimmings and Grayburn tackle their subject head-on and ultimately emerge, if not triumphant, then most definitely unbowed.

‘Because it was hard I felt honoured’ says Howard Barker’s ‘ordinary woman’ taken for the street to sit in the stalls. Despite, or perhaps because of their subject matter and purpose, Kimmings and Grayburn are seldom hard to watch, but throughout make us feel honoured.

Til 30 August