Be Kind to Yourself

There probably aren’t many free venues that are packed to the seams, having to turn people away and fit others into the corners with Tetris-like ingenuity. But, then again, not every show is as enjoyable and competent as Be Kind To Yourself, a feel-good set of tightly-spun performance poetry and humorous observations worth far more than its blank price tag.

There is no denying the worth and joy to be found in this solo-show

Tim Clare – also in the trio behind Grave Invaders in the same venue – chats cheerfully about his experience of anxiety, the necessity of being easy on yourself, and knowing when to go to bed. He seems constantly on edge onstage, while always at ease with the audience and with his work: it is difficult to see how these two things have been reconciled so naturally.

Beyond his comforting self-deprecation is a robust dexterity in creating fantastical spoken word pieces based on his everyday life. This even includes hip-hop battle therapy sessions, in an inspiring three-minute journey to achieve confidence in his expression. On the other end of the spectrum, a rousing piece on elitist high art versus more authentic jokes on flatulence. All of his pieces, regardless of their different context, employ the same dazzling imagery, toying wordplay, and zest for his work. Clare is a performer of heartening range in tone, topic, and style.

As a schoolteacher, his time in the classroom and presumably unofficial class exercises are often drawn on too. After his descriptions of school classes and the kids’ contributions, you will leave his show wanting to become a schoolteacher or simply wishing you’d been taught by Tim Clare. If every school had a teacher like him energising the class populace, the world would be a much better place.

His work in Grave Invaders has slightly more force to it, but there is no denying the worth and joy to be found in this solo-show. Stop spending and head over.

Reviews by Henry St Leger

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The Blurb

Stressed out? Self critical? Prone to sobbing in your underwear? Hyper-anxious stand-up poet Tim Clare can help. He returns to the Fringe with a brand new hour of award-winning verse about fear, dolphins and the vomit-splattered road to self-acceptance. ‘Sublime … has the audience hooting in recognition’ (Guardian). ‘One of the most enjoyable hours I have ever spent’ ***** (ThreeWeeks). ‘The most compelling solo performance on the Fringe’ ***** ( ‘Astonishing, vivid … had me almost crying with laughter’ **** (Scotsman).