Bang Said The Gun

A longstanding stand-up poetry night, Bang Said The Gun is ‘for people who don’t like poetry’. And, I am happy to report, for people who do. On a mission to re-energise poetry nights and shake off their poncey, worthy reputation, this gang is gunning to get you excited.

Brilliant fun and high quality talent

The energy starts as soon as you get inside. Uplifting classic soul blasts from the stage and every seat has a 'shaker' on it; a repurposed plastic bottle full of peanuts to rattle loudly instead of clapping. The enthusiastic hosts batted balloons in the air, the Spiegeltent was full of sun and some of the audience even danced.

My Britishness kicked in here—oh no, was this going to be enforced 'fun'? But I’m an introvert! However, only 10 minutes in and I was rattling and whooping as though among friends. The shakers are an inspired gimmick which change the sound of the night (bye-bye, polite clapping) and raised the energy of the room. Petition to introduce them to every allegedly highbrow event.

All this even before the poets were on stage. What a great variety of talent – all funny, all talented, and all so different as to keep us engaged throughout. The stand-out for me was the marvellous Laurie Bolger. The sharp-eyed comic detail of her poems makes them accessible and moving, as well as hilarious. I loved the ‘passport faces’, biscuit tins of old photos and bags of reduced broccoli that colour her very clever writing. I can't wait to see her perform again.

Rob Auton’s Letter to Father Christmas was a revelation. I did not spot where the poem was taking us until it swerved to its real destination, and then I wanted to print it out and put it on my fridge so I could read it every day. I've since found a video of him performing it, directed and edited by Scroobius Pip, for those of you without fridges. John Osborne’s poem about Simon Armitage was already a favourite of mine, and it was a pleasure to hear it read aloud. He’s another writer skilled at using everyday detail to grab at your heart when you thought you were only laughing.

An uplifting and inspiring evening, I left with a grin and a clutch of new poems to love. Short of free booze, I couldn’t have asked for more.

Reviews by Rhian Bowley

Brighton Open Air Theatre

Romeo and Juliet

★★★
Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT)

The HandleBards: The Tempest

★★★★★
The Warren: The Blockhouse

Witch-Hunt

★★★★★
Preston Old Church

Macbeth

★★★★★
Brighton Spiegeltent

Bang Said The Gun

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

'Bang Said The Gun' is poetry for people who don’t like poetry. Voted 'The Best Poetry Night in the UK' by The Times, Bang Said The Gun has made poetry cool again. A rollercoaster of emotions, it’s loud, raucous, political, trivial, serious and very funny. Normal rules do not apply here. As recommended by Kate Tempest, "It’s like mud wrestling with words", or as ex-poet laureate, Andrew Motion puts it: "BSTG is a vortex of energy and enthusiasm".

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