reviews and recommendations

Laura Lexx: Trying

Laura Lexx is an award-winning comedian and writer who lives in Brighton with her husband. After a year ‘off’, she’s returned to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with her supremely honest show Trying. It’s stand-up meets storytelling in which Laura reveals that her dream of having a baby has not yet become a reality.

Instead, Laura’s been nursing a very different all-consuming, demanding little thing called Depression. Three months into trying for a baby she began experiencing anxiety so severe that she couldn’t leave the house. It’s hard to believe that someone with a confident, chirpy persona like Laura could have a breakdown. It’s all the more compelling because we can see for ourselves that appearances are deceiving. The laughs come loudly, and consistently, as we listen to Laura’s candid story. She takes us on an enjoyable nostalgic journey back to her childhood. As the second eldest of four children, she is now, happily, an aunt to some little people. Last summer she joined her mum, sister and family on a camping holiday in France, reminding her of a more carefree place…the past.

Comedy audiences demand ‘truth’ from the performer and Laura really lays her soul bare in Trying. It’s not gloomy or self-pitying, though. Far from it! Laura has an enviable, amiable persona on stage. She warmly invites you into her world as she discusses depression and anxiety with a levity you can’t help but admire. Both are conditions we may all experience to some degree in our lifetimes and yet society is still guilty of awkwardly shying away from discussing mental health. Part of Laura’s motivation for writing this deeply sincere show is to highlight that these issues don’t affect a distant ‘other’. They’re probably happening, or will happen, to people you know and it’s important to talk openly about them.

Laura’s relaxed, charming style of delivery means she often catches the crowd off guard with her cheeky asides. Engaging anecdotes, laugh-out-loud one-liners and clever observational humour are woven seamlessly into the narrative. Laura covers a lot of ground as she serves up daft puns, ponders politics and cracks deliciously dark jokes about suicide, weight loss and death in her mission to ‘make depression cute’. She also wants to silence the sort who’ll stick their noses where they aren’t wanted, without being aware of the damage their ill-informed opinions can cause. Trying is ultimately a show about the different damage we tackle, mentally and physically. The harm humanity is wreaking on the environment and ourselves. How can we all cope with day-to-day life while simultaneously feeling the weight of the world on our shoulders? Laura questions the future. She doesn’t have the answers. She’s concluded that, ultimately, she’s happier now she’s stopped trying so hard to figure them out.

★★★★★

Laura Lexx: Trying is at 17:15 at Gilded Balloon Teviot, Bristo Square (The Turret) until 26th August. For tickets and more information click here!

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