Admittedly, there was something about the show’s title that immediately appealed, striking an all too familiar chord with my own inner monologue on dreary mornings-after-the-nights-before – and judging by the enthusiastic welcome from her audience, Bryony Kimmings is by no means the only ‘Sex Idiot’ around.
Forming the grittier part of the Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love, performance artist Bryony Kimmings begins her one-woman show by likening the human mating rituals to those of birds, as we preen and prance in order to get a good ruffle of our proverbial feathers. But for Bryony, such enthusiastic ruffling got her into mischief when a sexual health screening revealed she had indeed fallen into that statistical bracket and got herself an STD. The consequence? The much feared quest through one’s sexual past to inform others who may now be at risk – and of course determine the guilty culprit.
For many people, this process forms a series of awkward automated texts or emails. For Bryony, she transformed this embarrassment into the basis for her show. And in doing so, disseminates her own embarrassment and awkwardness to her similarly unprotected audience.
Decorated with flowers and sequined outfits and articulated by music, spoken word and a unique interpretation of contemporary dance, Sex Idiot is a lustful and riotous insight into female sexuality. Wonderfully assaulting to both the seasoned sexual traveller and the more delicate audience members, Bryony shamelessly bares all. Recounting – and naming – her past lovers who may have been the cause of her affliction, each is memorialised with their own piece of art. From a song that taught me more names for my vagina than I can possibly recount here, to a dance that surely inspired us all to expand their own sexual athleticism and one of the most intimate moments of audience participation I’ve been privy to, we laugh (hysterically) into the aisles, whether through painful recognition and solidarity or utter disbelief.
A charming host to share a rather less than charming tale of loose knickered frivolity and just-one-more-drink, hope and heartache, Bryony delivers her vigorous self-assessment with unadulterated and infectious wit and charisma. After all, there is something about an artist who will pick parts of her audience out of her teeth mid-song that is truly heart-warming.
Bryony Kimmings’ Sex Idiot took place from 12-16 August at:
The Festival of Love takes place until 31 August.