The second act of a ‘mental health double-bill’, Mental as Everything is a two-man show presented by OCD and Bi-Polar II disorder sufferer Damon Smith and Adam Coad, a sufferer of anxiety and depression.
As gigging musicians around town, Smith and Coad are accomplished instrumentalists with a delightful folk / alt-country vibe that well suits the late night positioning of their act in this double bill. With Smith largely on piano, Coad on drums and ukulele, and both variously on guitar, the mix of musical styles created across this suite of original numbers aptly addresses the difficulties of living with mental health issues. Whether it’s the frustrating loneliness that’s created when they aren’t talked about, or the way people tend to use problems like OCD as descriptors for their far less debilitating concerns, through their musicianship Smith and Coad help shed light on these often misunderstood conditions.
Smith starts the show by literally demonstrating the way OCD can make his life an endless serious of ticks and unreasoned fears. It’s a smart way to paint the picture, and across the evening both he and Coad share facts and statistics about their conditions in charmingly disorganised ways. I won’t say this production (and it’s first act predecessor) couldn’t have done with more rehearsal, but thankfully for Smith and Coad, their stumbling narrative sits just on the right side of endearing.
There’s no sugar-coating of the pain and devastating impact of the mental health issues illustrated in anecdotes delivered by both men, but through the power of their original songs, they feel relatable and manageable. It’s the kind of consolidating, healing conversation that music uniquely has the power to deliver and with Smith and Coad’s magical harmonising it’s a delight for the ears as well.
You don’t have to have been touched by mental health conditions or the impact they can have on the family and friends of sufferers to enjoy this production. It’s equal parts enlightening and entertaining, with a big old helping dash of charm on top.