With a stage set with spotlights on a sole microphone and the band on the outskirts of the light’s glow, this is a performance that aims to focus all its love and appreciation for language. The venue of the Scottish Storytelling Centre therefore seems a perfect venue, with each poet regaling us with a story, one after another, in the loop of what could only be described as an ‘umbrella’ narrative.
The poets themselves are utterly talented, both as individual performers and as a collective. Kevin Mclean and Doug Garry have voices that are powerful yet with the ability to soften. They perform both as a duo and alone, rousing laughs from the audience while projecting the potential ways the world will end – leaving us breathless at their most vulnerable.
The lyrical eloquence of Katie Ailes is remarkable: during the performance she speaks of refugees and recites a poem to her daughter. Her writing touches these subjects lightly, never clumsily raging but entreating us to feel like her – something you cannot help but do. Catherine Wilson writes as effectively with passion and humour, endearing as she recounts the gossip of the local swimming pool and the drama that occurs within. She is touching in her gentle disclosure of fears, overwhelming demons and events.
All poetry is performed to the accompaniment of instrumental music by the Ekobirds (Fiona Liddell, Sam Thorne and Jack Hinks) – the melodies soar and ebb with the poetry, tailor-made to the writing, which in turn creates an extraordinary effect. The special appearance of Rob Auton is deeply amusing; he questions what we will eat in heaven: the animals that have made it there from earth? His poem dedicated to his ‘maroon room’ is just hilarious, for he has no fear sassing the band.
However, this is not simply a group who stand on stage performing. Montages of film clips accompany the poems reflecting the words spoken and they use videos done in the style of Steve Jobs (turtleneck and all) to ‘sell’ poetry throughout. This is an exceptional performance of poetry and an absolute must for anyone visiting the Fringe this summer. It is an evening of emotions and beautiful writing in abundance.
Scottish Storytelling Centre (Venue 30)
Until 28th August (not 21st)
Photo credit: Loud Poets