Theatre Review: I'm A Phoenix, Bitch Is Visceral Therapy
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Just two years after life as she knew it came shattering down around her, award-winning performance artist Bryony Kimmings was offered an unusual prescription by her therapist; to bring her traumatic experience to the stage.
'So it's a self-indulgent cry-fest?' I hear you ask. No it isn't. Why? Because it's told through Kimmings' famously engaging, funny, child-like and touching storytelling. She brings her extraordinary story to life through brilliant and outlandish physical performance and short, captivating multimedia scenes (funny songs, projections, film parodies). From shamelessly wooing her son's father to resolutely caring for her sick little boy, we're empathetically laughing and crying along throughout.
Despite being an extremely personal story, featuring some very strange moments, it's the relatability of the show that keeps us holding our breath. For want of a better metaphor, you can cut the atmosphere with a knife throughout. It's a visual and visceral manifestation of self-hatred, loss, grief and regret that can be applied to many tremors in our lives that are substantial enough to change a part of us.
I'm a Phoenix, Bitch is not hopeless, either; quite the opposite. By the nature of its punchy title it's about finding strength in trauma, ignoring those negative (often male) inner dialogues and becoming a new, stronger you. A must-see for all those who want to experience and learn from someone facing their demons in a beautiful and powerful way, it's a show that will stay with you.
I'm a Phoenix, Bitch, Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, SW11 5TN, from £15. Until 9 March
Last Updated 05 March 2019