THIS SHOW HAS BEEN POSTPONED.
Bryony and Tim have had to postpone the first month of their spring tour until the autumn to have a little more time to settle into parenthood. Frank is only 3 months old and the couple need to stay at home just a little longer before heading off on tour, they hope you understand.
You can now see Fake it ‘Til you Make It on Mon 14 & Tue 15 November 2016.
Tickets still remained valid however, if you require a refund please contact the Junction box office on 01223 511511 no later than 5pm, Wed 03 February 2016.
– Information taken from the Cambridge Junction website, 19 February 2016
Nicola Foley talks to performance artist Bryony Kimmings about her work
Performance artist, provocateur, feminist activist and erstwhile Cambridge dweller, Bryony Kimmings’ previous shows have covered topics including chlamydia (in Sex Idiot), alcohol abuse (7 Day Drunk) and the hyper-sexualisation of teenage girls in 2013’s Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model. The latter saw her recruiting her nine-year-old niece to help her create Catherine Bennett – a tuna pasta eating, bike riding, dinosaur loving, brightly coloured clothes wearing, perfect popstar of a tweenager’s imagination. This time around, she’s got a new performance partner, her fiancé Tim Grayburn.
Her latest show, Fake It ’Til You Make It, is at its heart a touching love story, but in time-honoured Kimmings tradition, it’s also a gutsy work with a social conscience, designed to get people talking about important things.
The show focuses on mental health – specifically, Grayburn’s battle with chronic depression, a part of himself which he kept hidden from everyone around him for a long time. A deeply personal, deeply sensitive issue – it tackles the cultural taboo of male mental health head on, via some home-made music, dodgy dancing and a bit of Kimmings’ trademark goofiness. That’s not to say it’s an easy watch – and anyone who’s seen a loved one suffer from mental health issues or experienced something similar themselves is likely to feel a few tears of understanding and recognition pricking if they choose to go and watch it (which they definitely, definitely should).
Bryony tells me that the show came about when Grayburn suffered a relapse into depression whilst she was touring in Australia. “I knew I could no longer warrant us being apart,” she says simply. “Over the course of the previous year our lives had changed immeasurably after I discovered antidepressants in his backpack, unearthing a decade of hiding from his illness. When I came home from Australia I had joked to him in the car about him needing to quit his job so he could come on tour with me. He looked at me with eyes so serious I knew he was ready to tell his story to a global audience… So began the adventure.”
“It’s a gutsy work with a social conscience”
Kimmings is no stranger to airing her dirty laundry for the sake of art to, in her own words, ‘oil conversations on seemingly difficult subjects’, but was she concerned about doing it with her fiancé’s?
“Putting a loved one in the firing line of an audience is not something I take lightly,” she says. “My main objective with my work with non-performers is to let them dictate the rules and parameters they want to work in. Tim gave me rules I had to follow before I wrote the show, and these gave me the perimeters through which I constructed the drama. They included not wanting to look anyone in the eye (throughout the show he appears in an array of wacky headgear), and always wanting to appear like a ‘real man’. For a theatre maker these rules are gifts. Tim spends a great deal of the show with his face obscured until he finally reveals his identity at the end.”
So far the reception has been phenomenal. The show sold out Edinburgh and a four-week run at the Soho Theatre, toured Australia, picked up a glut of awards, and the pair have played numerous festivals.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” she says. “The show is a truthful depiction of how an ordinary couple deal with clinical depression. It’s very honest and very raw, but also funny and heartfelt. It connects the audience, we speak to them all afterwards at the door and in the bar and people tell us that we are telling their story as well as ours up on that stage, which is truly beautiful. Our aim is to do our tiny bit to normalise mental health and get blokes talking about their emotions more.”
Making it even more of a whirlwind is the fact that Kimmings was heavily pregnant for much of the tour, and is now on the road with a new baby in tow – an experience she describes as making her “tired, joyful, tearful, stressed, over the moon, worried, happy, mesmerised and completely and totally in love!”
She’s absolutely not slowing down though – and for her upcoming show, a musical opening in London in autumn, she’ll be taking an unflinching look at another big topic: cancer. She’s also, she tells me, considering a show about giving birth (“a mental experience!”). Whatever she takes on in the next, I, for one, can’t wait to see what the future holds for this fearless performer…
Cambridge Junction, 19-20 February. Tickets are £16 in advance.