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.