Phill Jupitus in association with Free Fringe is a coup. At the start of the show Jupitus explains how he started in performance poetry before moving into stand-up, a progression eased by the fact that most of his poems were funny anyway and stand-up freed him from verse and meter. However, the move back into rhythm and rhyme has done nothing to stifle the personality and humour packed into the performance. Almost twenty years on BBC Two means few are ignorant of Jupitus’ charisma and onstage, in a performance that veers between funny, touching and surprisingly personal, the effect is palpable.
The show is a mixture of storytelling, songs and poetry, the best of which is the poetry. He began with some older material from the 1980s and it was a sign of how quickly he captured the audience’s affection that even though he forgot several stanzas the whole was met with laughter and applause. Some of the more recent poems, particularly one entitled Gateshead Lament, stood out as affecting and honest against the background of jokes and comic anecdotes.
The show is made up of different, occasionally disjointed parts but the whole is held together well by Jupitus. Throughout the performance it’s obvious he’s having fun, at one point letting out a high pitched giggle and announcing his glee to the audience. Even the odd sarcastic remark about the ‘cheapskate’ audience was made with an undercurrent of affection. Porky the Poet isn’t here to deliver a Phill Jupitus stand-up routine but it’s well worth watching.