Monkey Poet's combination of heavily political stand-up and performance poetry will be the darkest, rudest and funniest thing you see at the Free Fringe. By dark, we're talking blacker than a black hole and by rude, bluer than the deepest ocean. Not for the faint-hearted, Matt Panesh's leftist ranting is powerful and hard-hitting. With his rough and ready appearance, proud Mancunian roots and competent performance, Monkey Poet and his filthy mouth will give you a show to be reckoned with.
Panesh manages the rare feat of combining political commentary with graphic sexual humour when he tells the audience the unspeakable things he would do to George Osborne. His targets are the BNP, the Coalition, the Tories, and one particularly thought-provoking moment has Panesh recounting horror stories of the victims of the cuts to disability living allowances. At one point he cites John Cooper-Clarke, and this influence can definitely be seen in Panesh's strongly rhythmic verse; it packs a real punch and delivers a strong message. This is an intelligent hour of confrontational performance poetry that will grab you by the collar and force you to engage.
It's true that the level of crudeness Panesh offers will not be to everyone's taste, in fact, he tells an anecdote or two about times when it hasn't gone down well with audiences. However, there is something about him which just seems fearless and disarmingly honest. The night before the gig he'd slept on a park bench due to a mix up with arrangements for the sofa he was meant to be using, and he is also quite upfront about his drug use and other topics generally not broached by mainstream comics. If you can handle it, you'll love it. Although it's clear that topical poetry is where his passions lie, one more sentimental poem about learning to ride a bike is a welcome change in tone and shows a very different side to the Monkey Poet. There is even a more individual sense of voice in this poem than in his other work, and it would be nice to see an emergence of more of this material. However, this seems unlikely as Panesh admits he probably won't be taking it on tour.
A downright dirty show which will touch your heart and stimulate your mind. Panesh is a great performer and this show is an exploration into what he believes and why; he is so convincing that by the end of the evening you may well find your ideas converging with his.