Jenny Foulds has ADHD. She describes her brain as a messy bedroom. Clothes strewn all over the floor, she thinks she knows where everything is or does she? A ray of sunlight falls on the floor and for a fleeting moment, everything is in place.
Watching Jenny Fould’s play, Life Learnings of a Nonsensical Human, reminded me that life is for living. It is an, ode to joy and the complexities of friendship, queerness and raving. With great warmth Jenny looks back on her adolescence and early adulthood and explains how she came out. She remembers fondly conversations that about life, the world and the universe that you can only have at dawn after a heavy night.
She brings to life stories of sex, drugs and rock and roll with a lot of humour, tinged with sadness. She describes London as “Peter Pan land.” She says her family are “big characters with occasional loose morals.”
When calamity strikes, she tries to befriend grief who silently watches her like a new friend. She describes herself as “un-get-able, I am a missing person… You are a message in a bottle trying to reach me.”
Jenny wants to invent a joy machine. Her play contains spoken word poetry and this ode is, to the kindness of strangers, to the heartbreak of loss and missing and finding joy in the most unlikely places. These poems are for old ravers and fun makers, for anyone who has had a best friend. This is a love letter to the sticky floors that we have danced on for all these years.
I thoroughly enjoyed Jenny Fould’s performance. She took me back to a 72 hour party I hosted with friends at University. Happy days. You can’t bottle joy and preserve it but you can be attentive to it, you can befriend it and savour it every time you glimpse it, fully alive, immersed in the moment.
Writer and performer Jenny Foulds says: “Life Learnings of a Nonsensical Human is an autobiographical adventure through my brain. My life so far. I once had a dream that I invented a machine that could find the joy in anything and the stories I tell all have an element of that through them.
“I started writing it long before my dad died last year and so the trajectory of it changed somewhat but even through grief, in the darkest moments so far, I managed to find joy in the most unlikely places and that’s what the show is about. I hope audiences can come and find some joy with me, whatever they are going through.”
Jenny Foulds (she/her) is a queer neurodiverse performance poet,writer and actress from Scotland. Jenny was the 2021 Scottish Poetry Slam Champion and was a finalist in the World Slam Championships in 2022, as well as being host and curator of the Brighton based spoken word night Rebel Soapbox.
As an actress Jenny Foulds was a series regular in Two Thousand Acres of Sky (BBC) and appeared in various TV and film roles including Rebus, Mandancin’, Taggart and The Debt Collector. She founded the street art blog Happy Graffiti, which later became a book published by Octopus Books in 2013. Life Learnings of a Nonsensical Human is her first solo show. Direction was excellent by Laura Mugridge.
You can follow Jenny Foulds on Twitter: @jennywithwords. Her show runs tonight, 25 May and 31 May at the Brunswick at 7pm before going to Edinburgh Festival. Don’t miss it.
Four stars ****