Help!

If you’ve ever wondered what having a mental-health issue feels like then head down to Help!. Viki Browne takes you on her journey of admitting she needed help – in a sequinned jumpsuit, rat hat, audience participation kind of way.

Anyone who has experienced mental illness will find a kindred spirit in Viki Browne

Viki Browne had a realisation when she jumped into a magnolia bush. She realised she needed help, and that is the first step. The second step is actually asking for it, and Browne does that right here in this show. Browne takes us into her disco-dancing mind and looks after us with love, care and attention. From greeting the audience personally on entry to a huge amount of audience involvement (including a question and answer session) she has our attention from the beginning.

But this is not all fun and games. It’s a serious and often taboo subject; one that Browne manages to explain and describe in possibly the most coherent and poetic way possible. The sparkle, glitter and fun is one thing but the monologues that Browne shares with us are moments of stillness and beauty. The description of how an anxiety disorder affects a person is so clear and the language is so tangible you really understand everything she is going through.

Browne writes and performs with a grace and honesty. You want to help her (which is necessary in this type of show) and are rooting for her throughout. The set is simple; I’ve never seen so much glitter and sparkle in one room, but as the reason for it becomes clear it all makes complete sense; of course a foil blanket is a magnolia bush, why wouldn’t it be? Perhaps Browne could take a little more control of the space, but what she does give us is a very generous performance.

Anyone who has experienced mental illness will find a kindred spirit in Viki Browne. If you haven’t experienced it yourself, but know someone who has, do yourself a favour and get down to see Help!, you might just understand your friends a little better. 

Reviews by Emily Jane Kerr

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Since you’re here…

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You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Viki jumps into a bush. She isn’t coping. Welcome to her sequin-encrusted world. Rats wear capes, butters race and you're invited to dance in the disco of dirty secrets. Help! is about falling apart, pulling yourself together and being surprised by what you're left with. It is for anyone who's ever struggled. 'Truly uplifting, something which brings humanity in all its vulnerability to the fore and offers a real and tangible sense of hope.' (Express & Echo). 'One woman in a leotard bringing attention to that big silver elephant in the room' (Bristol247.com). Bristol Old Vic Ferment Scratch Commission.

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