Anthropoetry is a play on the word Anthropometry (a term used to describe measurements of the human body) and playing with words is exactly what this performance is all about.
Poet Ben Mellor greets the audience as they enter the dark theatre space and then eloquently introduces his mute sidekick - the talented musician Dan Steele. The pair's task is to take the audience on a poetic journey through the human body using spoken word, music, soundscapes and hip-hop influenced rhymes. Starting with the head and working down, topics include the larynx, the body’s nervous system and the politics behind Page 3 pinups.
The words contained within the poetry are so finely crafted and smoothly delivered there feels little need to add music at all. However when Steele combines sampled sounds, guitars, loops and keyboards, the performance is taken to new heights and the gravity of the poetry feels enormous, powerful and slickly delivered.
Anthropoetry itself is billed as a Cabaret performance, however it has more in common with Spoken Word theatre. Although the sensitive words and strong lyrics are the heart of the piece, use of vocal effects do little to add to the message which the performers are attempting to convey and at times distract from their insight.
Ben Mellor is a former BBC Radio 4 Slam Poetry Champion and knows how to deliver poetry to an audience. Yet he does have more strings to his bow and shows versatility through finely fashioned words and heart-filled prose, making the journey feel more like an engaging story told by two masters of their craft.
The audience is left with the mantra 'Tomorrow is another chance to seize the day by the throat' and this perceptive wordplay was a fitting conclusion to the performance.