Mental as Everything charts the breadth of two talented musicians’ personal experiences with mental health. Immediately impressive due to the significant talent of Damon Smith and Adam Coad, the performance only grows in strength as it continues. The depth of meaning and feeling charted by their assortment of songs and open discourse with the audience is something quite special. The show possesses something that cannot be fabricated by any amount of skill or talent – it has something intimate, understanding, and very, very true about it.
Exploring the effects and impacts of depression, anxiety, OCD, panic attacks, and bipolar disorder, the performance tackles its issues with humour, earnestness, and truth. It’s a show with a message and while that message is definitely front and centre of the show, it doesn’t fall into preachy territory that could undercut its own meaning. It succeeds entirely in formulating an experience that both delivers a message and entertains. Thought-provoking theatre at its best, Mental as Everything is a valuable show. Sadly, the run has finished but hopefully the Smith and Coad will return before long to offer more of this show.
Almost confessional in its honesty, Mental as Everything ticks every necessary box to be a marvellous and worthy experience. Both Smith and Coad offer us an insight into their own respective lives, giving specific examples of the way they interact with mental health daily.
The performance features a range of new and familiar songs that are used to expertly weave a musical exploration of mental health issues. Songs of their own composition mix perfectly with other more familiar songs like Trent Reznor’s Hurt (the Johnny Cash version) to form a perfect song-scape of mental health exploration.
With its wonderful balance of music, truth, and a message to share, Mental as Everything is simply necessary viewing. The chances of any given individual having their own experience with mental health is very high and as Smith and Coad say in their performance, we live in a transitional period. It is becoming easier for individuals to acknowledge a struggle with mental health without being harshly judged, but this performance plays its own part in pushing for more significant movement on that front.
Not only all those worthy, important issues, but also this show exhibits the most exhilarating shoe-on, shoe-off sequence you are ever likely to see.
Words by Liam McNally