I don't remember a great deal about 7 Day Drunk. This may be the most ill advised opening sentence to a review ever, but stay with me if you can. I don't remember a great deal about 7 Day Drunk because, like a lamb to the liver slaughter, I got 'involved'.
Involvement in Ms Kimmings' show about the effects of alcohol on creativity involves seven shots of vodka. In a Barbie beaker. In seven minutes. Being built as I am, like the lovechild of a Hobbit and a sparrow, that's practically the equivalent of replacing all my bodily fluids with unadulterated ethanol, and needless to say, when I was asked to complete a questionnaire about the art I would like to create in my 'enlightened' state, the best I could come up with was a quasi-illegible scrawl about a 'beautiful little ballet'.
Luckily, the effect of alcohol on Bryony Kimmings' creative persuasions is a rather more effective catalyst for creativity. Having won critical acclaim for her risqué deconstruction of her sexual history in Sex Idiot, Kimmings is back with her unique brand of performance in 7 Day Drunk. Mixing song, dance, documentary film and sketches that range from quirky self-parody to soul-searching sensitivity; watching Kimmings is like watching an intoxicated Blue Peter presenter show you how to make grown-up fun with a glitter piñata she made earlier. If that doesn't appeal to you on some level, there is no joy in your heart, or child in your soul.
The term 'performance art' often provokes convulsions of pre-emptive revulsion, as mental images of stark minimalism, artsy inaccessibility and pretentious self-indulgence flash before our eyes, but 7 Day Drunk gives performance art a charmingly personal, playful lease of life... then pukes glitter all over it. Staging a one-woman show is no mean feat, but Kimmings is utterly captivating- not unlike a madcap Zooey Deschanel, stripped of her nauseating self-awareness.
Kimmings' stark sincerity is key in winning over the audience, especially in her filmed documentary material, when the lid is lifted on the myth of drunken creation, with the help of an almost comic band of doctors and psychiatrists. Footage of Kimmings' ex-housemate candidly discussing how much of her young life was lost in a disorientating haze of alcoholism adds a surprising dose of gravitas to the proceedings, yet 7 Day Drunk manages to delicately balance riotous drunken capers with the quietly sombre recognition that alcohol does not always equal fun and games.
Although the hefty amounts of intoxicating fluids coursing through my system may have had something to do with it, I did leave 7 Day Drunk elated, entertained, but not all too enlightened. If the hypothesis of this show was to discover whether alcohol aided the creative process, then I'm not sure we ever get an answer. It's certainly clear from spending an hour or so in Kimmings' company that her week of creating under the influence was fruitful, kooky and utterly brilliant, but while questions are posed about the performance industry's relationship with the bottle, or even society's dalliances with the hard stuff, they go largely unanswered, swept under the rug in favour of more sparkling showmanship.
Nevertheless, 7 Day Drunk heralds a new frontier in performance art. It goes to show that live art needn't all be cryptic, self-indulgent posturing; with Kimmings at the helm, it can also be a thought-provoking, anarchic giggle-fest, led by a booze fairy in a jump suit.
7 Day Drunk is at the Soho Theatre until 31 March.