Laura Lexx has been trying for a baby for a couple of years but instead, she has been gifted a big bag of depression and crippling anxiety. She got post-natal depression – without the baby. In a hilarious, tender and candid hour of comedy, Lexx takes a nostalgic look at growing up in the 80s, family holidays and relays her experience of life-changing mental illness.
In Trying, the stand-up prefaces the emotional heart of her show with fond memories of a family camping trip to France in the mid-90s, which she recreated last summer. The family holiday becomes a source of sentimental comfort – a place in her imagination where she can escape when life is overwhelming. She shares loving stories of her siblings which are so descriptive you feel like you’re there, watching them trying to pitch a tent and speak holiday French to hilarious effect.
Lexx’s honest, conversational style makes the narrative of her mental health deterioration accessible to anyone who’s unfamiliar with anxiety or depression and significant to anyone who still lives in fear of speaking up about their own struggles. Lexx discovers that even in the comedy community, there is still stigma attached to discussing mental illness, with the fear that if you admit depression you may be misjudged as unreliable or having lost your ability to inspire laughs.
Lexx is an effervescent performer; it’s impossible not to smile during her show, even when she’s delivering emotional material. She needs the crowd to know that it’s okay to laugh about her depression, anxiety and fertility issues and has prepared some signs to make the audience feel comfortable. One reads: “We should laugh unless she kills herself”, which provides the requisite laughter and eases any tension.
The show is scattered with good/bad puns, some sharp political put-downs and the audience are gripped and laughing throughout. The climax of Lexx’s show is a joyful re-telling of a story from last year’s family holiday, when the adults allowed themselves to act with the wild abandon of children and the final punchline is perfect. Trying may be an emotional rollercoaster of a show, but it’s one that the audience are happy to have ridden.