A chair, a poetry book, a man, and a bottle of water to wet his whistle – other than these there is no set and the stage is bare.
at the end of the hour I feel like my life and the world have been thrown into sharper relief
In his Slooshy Wordshow Greg Byron departs from physical theatre for the evening to give a performance of spoken word poetry, ranging in theme from science and quantum physics, to Brexit, to memory, to what it might be like to be a woman, and even on this particular evening, just 24 hours after the terrorist attack at London Bridge, to the Manchester bombing.
Byron is engaging, warm and attentive, checking for yawns, asking us who is a parent, who has cats, and offering each poem as if we were old friends sharing an evening together.
His reading is accomplished, and yet humble. The words rhyme easily and wittily and they’re delivered with a Northern twang that’s at once strong and gentle. At the end of each poem I find myself sighing, ahhing or mmming along with the rest of the audience. There’s something about good poetry that makes you recognise things more clearly, and at the end of the hour I feel like my life and the world have been thrown into sharper relief. I’ve made a mental note to tell my kids to visit their remaining grandparents more and say they love them. The poet says it’ll be too late one day.
There are also character sketches, cleverly observed lines about some of the eccentric individuals from a village he used to live in, and some ingenious 55 (not 54 and not 56) word stories.
It was hard to clap after every piece, not because it wasn’t moving or skilful, but because it nudged the heart-strings and pushed at the mind, in a way that made me want to ponder rather than immediately respond.
If you like your poetry performed and your evenings good-humoured and reflective, then this is the show for you.