Based in LONDON, The awkward corner is a collection of words by ellen burgin. writer, feminist, theatrical journalist.

#EdFringe – I’m a Phoenix, Bitch – Review

#EdFringe – I’m a Phoenix, Bitch – Review

#EdFringe – I’m a Phoenix, Bitch – Review

★★★★★ 

How do I find the words to talk about Bryony Kimmings’ latest show, which is in such high demand she’s currently performing two additional morning shows? Join me in my love letter to Kimmings’ most recent and most powerful piece of autobiographical theatre yet.

Photo: The Other Richard

Photo: The Other Richard

She’s a phoenix, rising from the ashes of the most traumatic time in her life, when after her son was born and was suffering from then undiagnosed infantile spasms, she succumbed to post-natal psychosis and felt like she drowned and lost her mind. In 2016 - 2017, her life went to shit: her relationship was imploding, her mental health was increasingly deteriorating, her home was flooding, and her inner critic, who is a middle class white man, was being a huge dick.

32622_large.jpg

We meet the different Bryonys, and the journey they’ve been on from each of the different shows she’s created. From how she met her then partner, how her pregnancy experience was, their move to the country and the isolation that went with that and more. She jokes, ‘ I worked my shit out and then I made art about it!’, but it is an extraordinary story she is sharing.

It’s raw and deeply emotional, it’s honest and fiery and brave. Every single performance she relives the trauma she went through, the burden she carried and the guilt that she felt that it was a burden, her PTSD from that time, and how she dragged herself back from rock bottom with the mantra and rallying battle cry of the show, ‘I am strong’, along with therapy, and forgiveness.

Photo: Rosie Powel

Photo: Rosie Powel

The production values of this show are astounding – from the individual vignettes shown through video projected onto the backdrop, to projections of her experience of running in fear through the forest and drowning in her emotions are extremely effective. The videos are funning, the projection design is absolutely breath taking, and the dollhouse / miniature of her house and life was such an effective way to create a world on stage. Her costume and set elements are on point, and despite her douche inner male critic, the show manages to be very funny and uses humour to navigate the experiences, while also still being able to shock you, bring a tear to your eye and engage you on the deepest of levels.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this show or Kimmings’ work (I’m literally still raving about the Melbourne run of The Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer) and it certainly won’t be the last., and there are so many more words I could write about how this show has struck a chord with me. One day, I think everyone who sees this work hopes that Frank gets to listen and understand to the voice memos his mum is making for him, and understand how strong, brave and badass she is.

I’m A Phoenix, Bitch is on at Pleasance Courtyard One until 25 August, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get a ticket. Next up, Kimmings is off to Australia in Melbourne and Brisbane, and Manchester in November. More info and future tour dates.

#EdFringe: I Wish My Life Were a Musical

#EdFringe: I Wish My Life Were a Musical

#EdFringe: The Voices We Hear – Review 

#EdFringe: The Voices We Hear – Review