Annie Sertich: How to Not Kill Yourself for 30 Days . . . and the Next 330
- Brian Donaldson
- 6 August 2017
Gloomy tale lifted by an effervescent and humane approach
Americans at the Fringe have mined a very rich of seam from their own misery in recent times. Last year Chris Gethard charmed watchers with his sometimes morbid story of crippling mental health issues, and Sean Patton is storytelling the hell out of severe frailties, natural disasters and road accidents. To that list you can safely add Annie Sertich. This actor and improv star of the legendary Groundlings troupe in LA has been through quite the wringer on her road to this Edinburgh debut (and hats off to her for, more or less, pronouncing Scotland's capital city correctly).
Cheated on not once, but twice, by her video-games obsessed husband, the trauma and paranoia she suffers leads Sertich to thinking she might be better off not being on this planet. Constantly battling suicidal thoughts, she comes up with a day-to-day plan to stave off ending her life. Sounds like a depressing hour, right? Well, not in Sertich's capable hands as she effervescently walks us through the story of how she got to that desperate point.
As she teases with a couple of false happy-ish endings, we are drawn without mercy into the moving story of her relationship with her dad. Through old slides (not for nothing was she known as Tan Ann as a teenager), and a thankfully brief introductory appearance from a life-coach character, we get the full context of Sertich's less than charmed life (as a jobbing actor she had to consider pursuing such artistic triumphs as an ad for I Can't Believe It's Not Butter) while she takes comfort from sharing Nicolas Cage's birthday and seeing Luke Wilson almost everywhere.
The joy of Annie Sertich's debut is in the details which drip out to form a fascinating collective and make this a wonderfully satisfying show as she portrays friends and family with both levity and love.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug (not 14), 8.30pm, £9.50–£12.50 (£8.50–£11.50).