Fake It 'Til You Make It (Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh)
A new show from Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn raises awareness of mental health
Something a bit mad and different about this true life true love story between performance artist Bryony Kimmings and former advertising exec Tim Grayburn who suffers from clinical depression: a pair of basket cases, literally, opening in clingy underwear and straw shopping bags on top.
The pair hooked up two and half years ago - Bryony's six months pregnant - and are dealing with Tim's illness by talking about it, occasional bouts of heavy medication - and, primarily, doing this show. They goof around, perform a Japanesey dance number outside an improvised canvas tent and play badminton and karaoke to Burt Bacharach's "Close to You."
Tim's confessional words are mostly heard in voice-overs. He comes clean about equating his depression with a sense of emasculation, though Bryony keeps reminding us what a top lover he is. Most strikingly of all, he admits that he felt so ashamed of his illness that he wouldn't even google it.
At this point he has removed all the head gear, binoculars, and animal masks that he wears because he doesn't want to look us in the eye. So there's a breakthrough of sorts structured into the piece, and he falteringly sings his own song and plays guitar at the end.
The point, though, is that the problems of having the illness, and living with it, are highlighted in such a raw, interesting and non-self-pitying manner. A low level, disposable type of performance is made up for by wackiness, not least a cute display of depression symptoms - aching bones, thoughts of death, etc - to Mambo music.
Fake It 'Til You Make It runs at the Traverse Theatre until 30 August.