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A review by Pauline Flannery for EXTRA! EXTRA!

 

 

 

Bryony Kimmings

 

7 Day Drunk

 

Soho Theatre

 

13 – 31 March 2012
 

‘And now I’ve got to make it into a show’….the tag line in 7 Day Drunk, an experiment into creativity on a daily diet of seven shots of vodka to one part Cranberry juice. With a ‘rocky relationship towards booze’ Bryony Kimmings subjected herself, with the support of doctors and psychologists, to the filmed project. All the live performance elements were conceived and conjured under the influence.

Part scientific, part performance piece, the fascination of 7 Day Drunk lies with Bryony Kimmings herself. Her name hints at a mix between barb and baby’s milk. And there is an element of infantilism that underpins the show: the soft toys, the pink hobby-horse, the big white enveloping ‘happy-place’ cushion, and the outrageously-styled ‘dressing up’ costumes writ large.

We first see Kimmings in a forensic-white all-in-one, like an extra from TV’s Silent Witness with raised right hump and blue piping. She goes into a frenetic, hip-hop routine to ‘Trumpton’ – with its illustrious band of firemen - and then segues into the witty ‘I don’t drink therefore I am’….Think Lilly Allen with Count Arthur Strong on keyboards. It’s an audacious start which sets the tone, as Kimmings turns herself over to her creative dark side.

She is an unlikely raconteur, yet she draws you in: early life in Peterborough, Uncles Ian/Peter, porno photography, snake suits and Bronski Beat rhythms. She paints verbal images swiftly. So the eight year old Bryony, intoxicated by the fantasy world of the pub where her mother works in her ‘pink earrings’, grows up wanting to be a musician and a heroin addict - it’s a great pay-off line. Similarly, the inserts ‘the first time I got drunk’ and the Cat and Mutton Pub routine - with audience participation - is fast-paced, quirky and fun.

She has some great one- liners too: ‘I got me an 80s’ girlfriend sway’ - to the post-punk lyrics of ‘I am an artist’ punched out at full-throttle. And during Amy’s story, in marked contrast, the economy of ‘cracks appear…..streams…..rivers……white water chasms’ as depression kicks in, and Kimmings decked out in sparkly clown outfit, crunches and spits glass.
Everything is used: experience, incidents – I’ll let the donner kebab, lemons and hair dryer speak for themselves’ – to articulate the experiment, truthfully. One moment involves an audience member taking seven shots of vodka, with cranberry top. No doubt to show the difference between inhibition and exhibition, but on the night I went, the audience member was hard-boiled - there was little change……..

Wisely, Kimmings does not signal the week’s countdown. 7 Day Drunk is interspersed with film footage, set pieces, songs, audience participation and a few choice costume changes. She captures drink-induced inspiration in all its random unpredictability. Yet is there a positive link between drink and creativity? For Kimmings, apparently so; there are three kinds of artist - the Jim Morrison mystical Kind, the Van Gogh sensitive kind, and the Bryony Kimmings kind……And in inimitable style, that’s how she turns vodka-induced creativity into a show……

 
Soho Theatre

21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE

Tuesday to Saturday 7.45pm

Box Office 020 7478 0100

Tickets £12.50 - £15.00

 

 

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