Fake It 'til You Make It
Bryony Kimmings' personal collaboration tackling her partner's depression
This article is from 2015.
You never quite know which particular Bryony Kimmings you're going to get with each show. The hedonistic drunk of yore? Bawdy singer of songs about her lady parts? The disarming lioness embodied in the Catherine Bennett character, quirkily trying to protect ner niece from the world's ills?
Facets of live artist Kimmings' true character are stripped back with every show, as raw as a skinned knee – whether vulnerable, cocky, or just plain foolhardy – always reining it in when it gets too sentimental. This time, however, she has teamed up with real life partner Tim Grayburn to create a show which scrutinises mental health problems, based on Grayburn's own struggles with depression, and it's as though she's sharing a real-life diary with everyone. In this time of overshare, it would be easy to do that. But Bryony and Tim do it their way – at times, they are explorers, mapping Tim's depression, which he only recently came to terms with; at others, a live art Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, all call and response songs and sexy pastiches of R&B dancing.
Beneath the typically Kimmings’ makeshift masks, which Grayburn wears for most of the show, there are testimonies of Grayburn's struggle with his extreme lows and Kimmings' paranoia when he is away. Compounding this is the fact that she is pregnant with their first child. The pair retreat to the newly constructed tent, or stand proud, clutching reductive gender symbols – whisk and hammer. The parody of Bob Dylan's video for ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’, with Kimmings holding up placards listing symptoms, is a sharp example of how the duo defy stereotypes with mischief, using humour as a coping mechanism.
The result is melancholic, playful, tentatively hopeful – and you may hug your friends and loved ones that little bit tighter for seeing it.
Traverse, 228 1404, until 30 Aug (not 17, 24), times vary, £18 (£8–£13).