Fringesider #4: Music and mental health
- Kirstyn Smith
- 16 August 2017
Our mental health-themed Fringe recommendations, what's the latest on social, and some music for your ears
Welcome back to Fringesider. The Fringe is just over halfway through, a time when it's easy to fall foul to poor eating, no sleeping and overwork. We're going to have a gander at some reviews of relevant shows that might calm your mind or remind you to look after number one. We'll also be checking out the sonic offerings around at this time of year. Nothing ever happens here, indeed.
With mental health being spoken about more than ever at this year's Fringe, there are plenty of shows to see that will lift your mood, offer self-care advice, or make you feel less alone.
A Robot in Human Skin ★★★★☆
Nicole Henriksen's one-woman play details her life with anxiety in raw and intimate detail. The audience are encouraged to feel as much a part of the journey as Henriksen (don't worry, there is no audience interaction), and the first half of the show has Henriksen describe anxiety in the most human and realistic detail ever. It's a humbling and eye-opening piece of work. Read the full review of A Robot in Human Skin
Underbelly Med Quad, until 28 Aug (not 15), 8.30pm, £10–£11.50, (£9–£10.50).
A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) ★★★★☆
A frank look at how mental health can affect friendships, A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) is unflinching in its portrayal of bipolar disorder. The show doesn't rely on a get-out clause of easy answers and perfectly resolved conflicts, but it is sharp, funny and heartfelt.
Read the full review of A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad)
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug (not 16, 23) 2.20 pm, £9–£12 (£8–£11).
Annie Sertich: How to Not Kill Yourself for 30 Days … and the Next 330 ★★★★☆
After being cheated on twice by her husband, Annie Sertich starts to believe that the world would be a better place if she wasn't here. But, unwilling to give into these mind tricks, Sertich devise a day-by-day plan to put off ending her life. Sure, we learn about how she got to such a desperate point, but we also learn how she got through it. Read the full review of How to Not Kill Yourself for 30 Days … and the Next 330
Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug (not 14), 8.30pm, £9.50–£12.50 (£8.50–£11.50).
C'est La Vegan ★★★★☆
We were pleasantly surprised that a title like that wasn't an hour of some hippy type banging on about clean eating and freecycling. Instead, Dave Chawner's latest show is a meditative exploration of why he has embraced veganism. He also talks with clarity and wit about his journey with anorexia, tackling mental health in an entirely un-earnest way. Read the full review of C'est La Vegan.
Laughing Horse @ The Counting House, until 27 Aug (not 25), 7pm, free.
Milly Thomas' one-woman play is from the perspective of a woman who has just killed herself. Looking back at the events leading up to this tragedy, there are hints at what caused it: depression, or eating disorders. There's a morbid humour throughout, which might be necessary when dealing with such a sucker punch of a show. Read the full review of Dust.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 27 Aug (not 15), 4.40pm, £11 (£10).
Sofie Hagen: Dead Baby Frog ★★★★☆
What is refreshing about Hagen's new show is that she is at pains to let us know that the room, for this particular hour, is an anxiety-safe space. If you want to see the show, but are worried about anything, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to work something out. She also gives a trigger warning at the top of the show (and you are free to leave, if uncomfortable), as Dead Baby Frog delves into the psychological torment she endured from the men in her family. Read the full review of Dead Baby Frog
Bedlam Theatre, until 28 Aug, 2pm, £10 (£8).
The word on the tweet
Nicole Henriksen (A Robot in Human Skin) gets real...
Mental opens up the conversation
The folks behind Stop share an essential Fringe survival guide...
And their fundraising triumph so far...
One punter loses her cider
Jack Rooke remembers an old friend
Jordan Joice (@jordanjoice) on Instagram: "5 years ago today one of my best friends Jack took his life. Now one of my newer best friends also…"
Phone free from any phone on 116 123
Rethink Mental Illness
Phone Mon-Fri 9.30m-4pm
Phone daily 4.30-10.30pm
0300 304 7000
Music to our ears
Summerhall has reclaimed the oft-repeated nonsense that Nothing Ever Happens Here to provide gigs under that moniker year-round, but their Fringe output is always top notch. It's not just NEHH, however, more and more venues and acts are taking advantage of the fact that the Fringe is perfect for punting your musical skills. From gigs to cabaret to scientific experiences, here's what to wrap your ears around this Fringe.
Courtney Act: Girl from Oz
One of the most-loved stars of RuPaul's Drag Race, Courtney Act, presents a show all about drag, pop culture and her beloved Oz. She reached the semi-finals of Australian Idol, so you know she's got those singing chops.
Underbelly Circus Hub, 17–26 Aug (not 21), 6pm, £13–£15 (£12–£14).
NEHH Presents Julie Byrne
The New York singer-songwriter plays from her two albums, the road-trippy Not Even Happiness and her 2014 debut, Rooms with Walls and Windows. Expect to be enchanted with atmospheric melodies that blossom into anthems.
Summerhall, 23 Aug, 8pm, £12.
NEHH Presents Withered Hand
Edinburgh's scene stalwart and plaintive witty folk troubadour, Withered Hand, teams up with the Made in Scotland showcase, with support from Iklan and Savage Mansion.
Summerhall, 19 Aug, 7pm, £14.
Chamber pop quartet Modern Studies team up with self-described 'bruiser poet' Lomond Campbell (plus the strings of Pumpkinseeds) for Sounding, a night of music, visuals and beauty in Stockbridge Church.
Stockbridge Church, 20–22 Aug, 7.30pm, £12 (£8).
Sound and vision artist Robbie Thomson does incredible things with a Tesla coil. His show, XFRMR, has him manipulating the sparks produced by the coil to create otherworldly music.
The Leith Volcano, 22–26 Aug 4pm (also 10pm, 24–26 Aug), £12 (£6).