In ‘Trying’ Laura Lexx manages to approach the much discussed topic of depression and anxiety from an impressively grounded and non-pitiful angle. However the attempt is a little light on laughs. When Lexx is clearly trying to be funny she’s a bit less original, relying on mediocre storytelling and puns to squeeze a laugh out of the audience (which she all too many times admits to doing). However this jovial, almost childish joke telling fits nicely alongside the nostalgic stories it accompanies and makes for an effective contrast when Lexx violently jerks the conversation towards heavier matters. Yet, after she pulls this trick for the third or fourth time it starts feeling less poetic and poignant and more like emotional manipulation.
Despite setting her aim out to be “making depression and anxiety cute and accessible”, Lexx seems to have no intention of making the audience laugh for at least half of the show. Because of this, the bleaker moments of the show, while feeling strongly rooted in reality, can become a little emotionally draining when she waits too long to draw the audience from the darker lull (which Lexx frequently apologises for). Some of these moments, when she manages to find comedy in tales from the most miserable parts of her life, are simultaneously the funniest and the most striking parts of the show, perfectly capturing the skin crawling horror of severe anxiety in a manner equal part harrowing and hilarious.
While this constant emotional flip flopping feels very intentional it also comes across as entirely sincere (if a tad cheesy at times), with the careful attention put towards structure leading to a concluding 5 minutes that are positively life affirming. That being said, if you are going into this show expecting a riotous evening of laughs and fun then you’re going to be bitterly disappointed.