To be frank, the opening to Andrew Bailey’s Limbo didn’t really grab me. He opens by welcoming you to his monologue and then proceeds to do a bit of improv. Except he doesn’t incorporate anything given within his improvisation, mostly to prove that everyone has freedom of choice and then he spends approximately the next fifty four minutes disproving that. The beginning didn’t grab me, but after the first couple minutes, Bailey had me, through the ups and downs.
Limbo is a smart engaging tale of Bailey’s struggle with mental illness. He speaks of the ‘morning after you don’t kill yourself,’ and give the audience a good look into his exhausting ongoing anxiety about the thoughts he is having. Or not having. He thinks that he was chosen, because he was given the gift of life twice. This anxiety causes him as a teenager to think that he isn’t rebelling enough, so he decides he’s going to smoke something in his parent’s bathroom. This leads to one of the funniest sequences in the play involving tea, trying to get high and setting the carpet on fire. Bailey then tells of his time in college, his friend Brandon who suffered from manic depressive disorder and his experiences of being possessed. All the while he takes time outs, where he literally stops the narrative to give more information about something or to tell a joke.
Bailey as a storyteller is engaging and funny. His story is one that absolutely illustrates the pain and suffering of coping with mental illness and you welcome the time you spend with him to hear his tale.
Limbo is part of the Calgary Fringe Festival. It plays 3 more times in the festival. More information is available online.