Pleasance One, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh – until 25 August 2019
What Is It? Performance artist Bryony Kimmings brings her trauma to the stage through this harrowing and brilliant musical, horror film-esque one woman show.
What Is It All About? As is her style, Kimmings puts her own trauma and story on the stage and explores her post-natal depression, after her life fell apart in the space of one year. She lost her home, her relationship with her partner broke down, her son became incredibly unwell and she herself went into a spiral of post natal depression.
Kimmings creatively uses small sets that signify important places in her life. The first is her kitchen, the morning after she first meets the father of her son, and makes him breakfast. Using a camera on a tripod, Kimmings sings about what it feels like to meet someone you feel incredibly strongly about and how intense this feeling is, to the point of hysteria, and projects it on a screen behind her.
Then we are presented with a beautiful model of her cottage in Oxfordshire, the place in which everything spiralled out of control. Kimmings takes us from moment to moment, and reveals more brilliant set behind her, literally (and figuratively) climbs a hill, and lifts weights over her head all the while remaining present and open.
How Did It Make Me Feel? There are SO MANY FEELS. Kimmings is a master storyteller, and despite the truthful nature of this piece, she goes to a place that is so incredibly truthful, so intensely dark it feels as if we are hearing this story for the first time.
The set is stunning. It is a journey with each new section of the stage, and the highly inventive structure keeps the audience engaged the whole time. The remarkable thing about Kimmings is that she doesn’t feel like a stranger, she feels like a friend. She has a warm and familiar presence that is a rarity on stage. Autobiographical one woman shows are Kimmings’ forte, but this is a whole new level.
I’m A Phoenix Bitch is the glorious exploration of the fucked-up world women live in and the impact of motherhood on a person’s sanity. Anything Else? A gorgeous, messy experience that will have you laugh-sobbing throughout. Take tissues. Amy x Bryony Kimmings: I’m A Phoenix, Bitch is playing at Pleasance One, Pleasance Courtyard until the 25th August 2019. If you like my reviews and want to support this blog feel free to buy me a virtual coffee here!