Sitting on a bare stage are four white sheets covering the set elements for I’m A Phoenix, Bitch; we hear screaming, as Bryony Kimmings (actress and writer) comes running onto the stage in an orange sequin dress and blonde wig – this is past Bryony.
Instantly breaking the fourth wall, “imagine if I opened the show like that”, Bryony jumps into talking to the audience like we are old friends; telling us about what we can expect tonight.
As each set element is gradually revealed, I’m a Phoenix, Bitch, tells the story of past Bryony’s journey to present Bryony.
Her journey of falling in love, her self-doubt around motherhood and pregnancy, her spiral into post-natal depression, her child’s neurological condition that led to a complete psychotic breakdown and relationship breakup and finally how she managed to claw her way back from all of the trauma.
Sounds dark doesn’t it…and, to be honest, it is.
But it is also deeply funny, deeply moving, surrealist, intelligent and poetic.
One brilliant 75-90min piece of theatre (Bryony admits she runs over time – I am not upset by this at all).
Bryony’s use of visual effects, characterisation and song are what makes this work so special.
Her voice and original compositions are so good, I want to put in a request for a soundtrack.
This show houses the most perfect mix of light and shade.
Opening with laughs and lightness before plunging you into the depths of despair and her shocking reality before gently, and oh so poignantly, pulling you back into hope and light.
This work made me laugh and cry. Bryony Kimmings is a genius and wonder woman and I would watch this show ten times over.
It is quite legitimately one of the best pieces of theatre I have ever seen and will stay with me for a long time.
5 stars ****