John Hegley: Peace, Love and Potatoes

The title of Hegley’s show refers to his latest book, Peace, Love and Potatoes, a perfect example of the juxtaposition between the common and the conceptual found throughout his quirky, poetic creations. An impeccably gifted performer and a genuinely warm person to be around, it was a treat to see the man himself bring some of his favourite pieces to life.

The set feels like a school headmaster organising a crowd of well-behaved and well-loved pupils

There is an understated charm in the humility with which Hegley approaches his work, calmly referring to each piece as a “little bit of fun”, and little by little we are drawn into a world that begins in the straightforward and spirals into the sublime. Pleasingly awkward rhymes and bizarrely endearing twists play with expectations and sensibilities, covering anything and everything from his childhood bungalow in Luton to the differences between a dog and a deckchair (one of my personal favourites), each coloured with the thoughts and feelings that inspired Hegley in their inception.

Some poems are sung, some are spoken and some have surprisingly complex hand movements to accompany them. Hegley’s work is popular in schools across the UK, and this experience shows. At times the set feels like a school headmaster organising a crowd of well-behaved and well-loved pupils. Audience interaction is a crucial part of the performance, with enjoyable harmonies coaxed out of the room to varying degrees of success. It’s not a pantomime, nor is it patronising. With a straight-faced earnestness, Hegley is utterly sincere in his conviction to lead the audience through rousing interpretive dance, spontaneous French translation and more.

Who ever said that poetry couldn’t be fun? This melting-pot of styles and subjects is a wonderfully silly, quietly brilliant production. Whether you’re a lifelong fan or a complete novice, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.

Reviews by Kay Tee

theSpace on the Mile

10:31, MCR

★★★
Bedlam Theatre

Standard:Elite

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Teviot

Ray Bradshaw: Deafinitely Baby

★★★★
PBH's Free Fringe @ Bar Bados Complex

Cauliflower

★★★★
Assembly George Square

beep boop

★★★
Summerhall

All of Me

★★★★

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.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Keats, Daleks, soot, belief, osmosis and 'compassionate autobiographical poems and correspondence between family members' (Poetry London). Verses spoken and sung. Hearts broken and repaired. Devised for adults, but tolerable to some 10-year-olds (and 9-year-olds in glasses). 'Scandalously talented' (Sunday Times). 'Awesomely mundane' (Independent). Limited run – nine dates only – book early!

Most Popular See More

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Blithe Spirit

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets