Edinburgh Fringe 2019
An enjoyable and insightful look into a young woman’s journey of rehabilitation
“Disclaimer – I might ramble a bit. It’s part of the show. I have a brain injury”
Mimi Hayes starts her solo show by stating right at the beginning (before she even emerged from backstage), that her show might involve some detours. She might go off track and loose her place. But that’s all part of the process. And it was. Considering what we were about to hear, it’s a miracle she was standing in front of us at all.
Mimi Hayes is 22 and had just started her first High School teaching job, when only a few days in, she collapsed during a blind date. After being told she had a brain bleed, she was prescribed bed rest for 4 weeks and sent home. But still her brain didn’t heal. She started to lose the ability to control one side of her body – then she lost the ability to taste on one side of her tongue. It was then that doctors realised something was seriously wrong – and booked her in for surgery.
I’ll Be Okay is a harrowing journey of a young women dealing with both the breakdown of a five-year relationship and the breakdown of her own body at the same time. We speculate that the stress of one might have caused the other, but Hayes never gives this away. What we do know, is that Hayes is a fierce fighter. Through the terrifying brain surgery, waking up in the hospital wondering if she’d survived and 2 weeks of intense rehabilitation where one side of her body just refused to function, Hayes managed to find the humour. She finds solace in her doctors, her family – and her shouldered side kick – Bruce Willis.
Unfortunately, the venue (Bar Bados) was extraordinarily noisy, and 20 mins in, we were faced with the echoes of people talking and laughing, water rushing through the pipes overhead and bottles and cans crashing together. Much to her credit, Hayes didn’t faulter – or even acknowledge these issues. Pace was also a factor, though, and while her disclaimer did allow for her tangents and loss of place in the story, some tighter direction would help the story flow and feel less disjointed.
This show was, however, was an enjoyable and insightful look into a young woman’s journey of rehabilitation, and a reminder that no-matter what, you can always find something to smile about.