Bryony Kimmings: I'm a Phoenix, Bitch @ Pleasance Courtyard

Combine Hollywood glamour and a traumatic reality with a dash of glittery chaos and you’re in the depths of Bryony Kimmings' latest show

Review by Mirren Wilson | 07 Aug 2019
  • Bryony Kimmings

You could call performance artist Bryony Kimmings a modern feminist warrior princess. She opens the doors to her heart and bares her soul, giving you everything she’s got. Beginning with a French and Saunders style section, she revisits her former self with some wacky wigs as she whizzes through the tale of meeting her boyfriend and becoming pregnant. After her child becomes ill and her relationship cracks, the spiral into despair begins in a heightened but honest reflection of the tornado that is mental illness.

Now sitting comfortably in herself, Kimmings is safe, wacky and full of relentless energy. She moves fluidly and skilfully as she wanders her own story with fun original songs and relatable, uplifting humour. Always interested in stigmas and reality, she embraces the clichés of the “healing process” and includes a couple of political notes with a big thank you to the NHS. There must be something cathartic for her in this process and it’s clear to the audience that this is a deeply connected and incredibly moving show.

The technical aspects of this show are otherwordly, filmic and includes an epic soundtrack. Kimmings plays with size manipulation, perspective and existentialism as she works on a small scale with live-stream video peering into a doll's house, and then on huge sets where she is the doll, using overwhelming projections to showcase her collapsing world. It’s extremely fluid and busy.

After you’ve travelled through this fairy-tale whirlwind, Kimmings punches the audience with reality reminding you that everything you’ve experienced is “real f**king life.” Do whatever you can to get a ticket – wait in that returns queue, wait for those last-minute releases or even bribe a fellow fringegoer. You won’t regret it.

Bryony Kimmings: I'm A Phoenix, Bitch, Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance One), until 25 Aug (not 12), 5.30pm, £17