Other Voices: Spoken Word Cabaret

This all-female spoken word cabaret claims to offer 'a veritable smorgasbord of poetry'; yet even though it is, to a certain extent, a daily-changing 'sampler' of numerous performance poets with their own shows on the Fringe, it's definitely a show which can offer you something a lot more filling and satisfying than just a few literary amuse-bouches (not in the least due to sweets that they pass round the audience at the start).

On the day of this review, the self-described 'effulgent' MC Fay Roberts, in her lovely dress and red top hat, set out the premise of the show and mixed humour and pathos in a delightful bilingual poem about a recent trip to France. Any expectations the audience might have had of poetic propriety were soon blasted away by 'filthy' Mel Jones, with her sensuous persona poem recanted using the voice of a woman yearning for sex in her 20th floor flat. Another highlight is a ‘found poetry’ piece, compiled using un-spellchecked extracts taken from the CVs submitted by hopeful games-makers during last year’s Olympics (one memorable example is the line "I's pays attentions to details").

Next up was Singapore Poetry Slam winner Stephanie Dogfoot Chan, who admitted that she writes poetry ‘to say the things she can't say in real life.’ Despite a bolder political edge to some of her work, Chan was perhaps the weakest speaker of the show; at one point it took me quite a few seconds to realise that she'd finished her poem and was now introducing the next one. Admittedly, she was still somewhat out of breath, having clearly hot-footed it from her own show in order to take part.

Unlike many of the spoken word shows on the Fringe at the moment, Other Voices deliberately retains a daily open mic slot; whilst this adds a certain unpredictability (and potential awkwardness) for the organisers, it can mean someone totally unexpected has a real chance to shine. Or for a 'token male' to read their slightly rude Haiku. Or, as it happened on this occasion, both.

It was then up to the 'scrumptious' Tina Sederholm and 'featured guest' Hannah Jane Walker to take a lens of lightheartedness to more serious, introspective subject matter.Sederholm self-depreciatingly offers advice to parents on what to do if they discover that their newborn child has been born with the incurable syndrome otherwise known as 'being a poet'. Walker humourously highlights her own feminist failures in criticising 'dolled up' women.

By its very nature, Other Voices will be a changeable feast from day to day. As an opportunity to catch up with some of the most interesting performers around, it's a valuable thing to have.

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Royal Lyceum Theatre

Mrs Puntila And Her Man Matti

★★
Traverse Theatre

W*nk Buddies

★★★
Traverse Theatre

Pride Plays

★★★★
Multiple Venues

Oor Wullie

★★★★
Oran Mor / Traverse Theatre

Fly Me To The Moon

★★★★
Platform / Traverse Theatre

The Panopticon

★★★★

Since you’re here…

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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.
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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.
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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

The Blurb

Allographic’s Other Voices brings you open-hearted open mic, fabulous female stars, and special guests every day, with a sumptuous cabaret vibe. You’ll laugh, sigh, groan, and dance with delight. We’ve something for everyone. www.bit.ly/othervoicespbh.

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