There are plenty of Fringe shows about mental health (not that I’m complaining – as a comedy fan with depression, I tend to seek out these shows so I can find ‘my people’), but this one stands out for being as poignant as it is funny.
Sukh mainly draws on two periods of depression and anxiety in her thirties, one of which saw her try a controversial treatment last year, having exhausted meditation, journalling and joining a gym, and tired of feeling “detached from myself” and “numb”.
She’d struggled to talk to a GP in her tight-knit Punjabi community, where doctor-patient confidentiality can often go out the window; she neatly riffs on the added complication of living with her parents and being an only child. Going to try this treatment (which I won’t spoil for you) involves pushing herself mentally, physically, and giving her mum the excuse she uses when heading off on a Tinder date.
Despite the serious subject matter, there’s strong humour throughout. She balances micro annoyances, like the price of a journal at Gatwick Airport, with the all-consuming worries that saw her reach rock bottom in the first place, and a teenage incident she’d tried to brush under the carpet. Sukh is a fun and fiery narrator who has paced and plotted this hour just right, and she never hits misery memoir territory.
With a show this consistently funny, I didn’t expect to find myself crying at the end, but For Sukh’s Sake wraps up with some very empowering words – much more than the “tiny bit of hope” she wants to give – and a gesture the whole audience gets behind. As I turned to leave, I saw at least three other audience members smile as they wiped away tears – proof that Sukh’s show can speak to you on many levels.
Sukh Ojla: For Sukh’s Sake is at the Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose at 17:15 until 25th August. For tickets and more information click here!
There’s still time to nominate a women-led show for the 2019 Funny Women Awards’ Best Show Category! The show with the most nominations will be picked! Nominate a show you have seen or your own show by 31st August here!