Review: Laura Lexx: Trying at Gilded Balloon Teviot

Laura Lexx is trying: trying to hold it together, trying to have a baby and trying to cope with the obsessive thoughts that, when left unchecked, can overwhelm her mind.

In a show that is part comedy, part manifesto she is trying one more thing: to remove any lingering stigma surrounding the use of anti-depressants and encourage those that are suffering to ignore the naysayers and take the help. They saved her life, she says, and could save yours, too.

Lexx eases us into the show with recollections from the family camping holidays she took as a child in the early 1990’s, a time before smartphones, a time before rechargeable batteries and, in the case of Lexx, a time before she felt that world was coming to an end. Her decision to have a baby prompted a sort of pre-natal spiral of catastrophic thinking: how could she have a child when the environment is gearing up to wipe us all out? Lexx makes searing observations about the gap between who she is on stage and who she is off it, about how sometimes it is easier to talk to a room full of strangers than the person closest to you.

Amid these brave and generous revelations are a series of anecdotes that feel a little too manufactured for comfort. In one instance, it’s a conversation with an archetypal ‘smug mummy’, in another it’s an interaction with a pushy sales assistant in a beauty hall. While technically amusing, these over-honed segments jar with the raw, seemingly off the cuff introspections on her mental health. Lexx’s strength as a storyteller lies in her ability to tap into these wells of genuine emotion – the twee and tightly packaged portions undermine this strength. Perhaps she diluted the more penetrating content with the audience in mind, imagining we would need a little sugar with our medicine. From the knowing laughs and gasps of recognition triggered by the darker moments of the show, it is my opinion that this is not the case. Lexx at full and frightening pelt has the potential to be a robust and uproarious force for the mental health movement – I hope she does it.

Laura Lexx: Trying, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 16-26 Aug, 5.15pm

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