Other Voices: Alternative Spoken Word Cabaret - Review
July. And you know what that means...
a chance for those of us who don't have the funding or the stamina to
endure a month of improvised theatre, interpretive dance and
political mime acts, to enjoy previews of the shows that local
performers will be taking north of the boarder to the Fringe Festival
quality of shows at Edinburgh is notoriously variable. But luckily
for us, this was not the case in the Fountain on Regent's street last
Sunday night. The Other Voices: Alternative Spoken Word Cabaret was
an excellent example of a great Edinburgh show: funny and
thought-provoking, varied and exciting, a wonderful mix of poetic talent, diverse in theme and content but featuring poets of a consistently high standard throughout.
host for the evening was Fay Roberts, a Cambridge-based poet, well known on the local poetry scene, both as a promoter and as a
wonderful spoken word act in her own right. Fay had rounded up a group of incredibly talented poets to perform, and the audience were treated to work from Hannah Eiseman-Reynard, Sophia
Blackwell and Tina Senderholm. All three ladies will be strutting
their spoken word stuff up north when the Cabaret hits
Edinburgh next month.
night was made complete by special guest performances from Oxford
writer Anna Hobson, Cambridge-based poet Hollie McNish and token
blokes with instruments, the Antipoet. Further entertainment – as
if we weren't spoilt enough already – came in the form of four
excellent open mic performances from local spoken word acts.
The event was hosted by Fay Roberts, our poetical
plate-spinner, who did a fine job keeping the evening on course and to
time. Impressively attired in a lace corset and black boots, Fay tangled with a few technical difficulties at the top of the show, but despite wrestling with a temperamental microphone,
she remained the consummate professional. The large and enthusiastic
audience were enthralled by her hypnotic and lilting verse, and the
crowd hung on her every word.
The first act of the evening was Tina Senderholm. This witty and vivacious performer had the audience
captivated with her witty word-play and comic asides, and she
interacted with the crowd in a way that made everyone feel part of
the performance. Tina hales from Oxford, where she hosts the Oxford
chapter of the Hammer and Tongue Poetry Slam Competitions. A
whirlwind in feathers and a fascinator, Tina gave an
engaging performance, touching on topics from being
a grown up to the profoundness of cake, and her poem about the idealism
of sex and relationships had the audience in fits of giggles and guffaws.
Next, Hannah Eiseman-Reynard took to the stage. Hannah is a native of North London and the
editor of online magazine Whippersnapper Press, and she delighted the
room with poems laced with puns and elegant, elaborate language. By
turns comic and poignant, political and surreal, Hannah's poetry made
the audience laugh and made them think, a dangerous
combination. Her poem 'Raise You', inspired by an the arrest of the
author while wearing a zombie costume in London on the day of the Royal Wedding, is a potent protest piece, and arguably my favourite
poem of the night.
still, the fantastic performances kept coming!
Blackwell had a completely beguiling stage presence. Her poetry was polished,
fast-paced and insightful. A real acrobatic poet, Sophia's words filled
the stage in a way that made it impossible not to enjoy every word.
She really gave the impression that she had spent hours perfecting
each verse; how else could it all have appeared so effortless? I'd recommend
her poem 'Red Dress'. A relentless, darkly-comic poem celebrating the
morning after and the night before, up-tempo and jubilant and so infectious that almost made me want to dance in the aisles!
course, this being a preview show, not all of the poets were able to make it on Sunday. So, unfortunately the Cambridge crowd were not able to enjoy sets from
Lucy Ayrton, Alison Brumfitt, Helen Mort, Sarah Thomasin, Chella
Quint, Ruth Dixon and Isadora Vibes. But instead, patrons of the Fountain were
treated to some very special guests.
McNish, and Anna Hobson were both fantastic. In fact, the only thing that
disappointed me about Hollie McNish's performance, was the fact that
Edinburgh will have to miss out on her wonderful poetry. And trust me, it's
their loss. Hollie's eloquent diatribes, looping rhythms and lyrical
rhymes contrasted really well with Anna's truthful stream of consciousness and compelling
free verse. The found-poetry gleaned from dating websites was a particular
favourite of a crowd whose attention had not wavered once throughout the two hours show. And the proceedings were rounded off nicely by the mad-cap musical stylings
of the Antipoet, who added some much needed masculinity into the
proceedings – eyeliner and all.
All things considered, it was a real joy to have
had the opportunity to see this show before it hits the fringe. If their performances are
even half as good in Edinburgh as they were in Cambridge, I have no doubt that the Other Voices: Alternative Spoken Word
Cabaret will be a great success.
You can catch the Other Voices: Alternative Spoken Word Cabaret at The Banshee Labyrinth, 35 Niddry Street Edinburgh, between 4th and 25th August. For more information, please visit the official website
posted on 24 July 2012 20:15 byLeanne Moden
A blog for those passionate about poetry and fiction in the East Cambridgeshire Area. We'll feature news, events, reviews and articles on the litrary happenings in and around Ely and Cambridge.
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