Joining the fringe for the first time Scroobius Pip seemed right at home on the stage. Confident and charismatic he immediately launched the show set with a rendition of ‘Duck Tales’ before commencing his spoken word set.
The material is dark, but I don’t want to use the word shocking. There is nothing that feels excessive or gratuitous and every word spoken has clearly been chosen with care. There is something strange about the juxtaposition between such an enjoyable performer and such harsh material. Topics discussed (as it mentions within the listing) are ‘adult’ and included suicide, violence, abuse and death. Yet each piece performed was undeniably enjoyable. The lyrical quality of each and the power with which they are spoken allow one to go beyond the literal subject matter and truly explore the lyrical pleasure of words and the power they possess. Though applauding and whooping for mentions of suicide might seem strange it was clearly felt by all that the work was more than deserving of it.
This is part of what makes Scroobius Pip such a powerful performer; he challenges his audience with uncomfortable topics but in such a subtle way that it is less about making the audience uncomfortable and more about challenging them to confront their own preconceived notions upon such subjects.
Scroobius Pip commented that he’d specifically chosen a venue with a bar and encouraged people to make use of it throughout the performance, living up to his reputation for redefining how spoken word is viewed. The atmosphere was a slightly unfamiliar combination of rapt-attention mixed with the boisterous antics of a much-entertained, if slightly intoxicated crowd, proving very much that spoken word should not be confined to the daylight or coffee-driven hours.
Despite the heavy nature of most of his material Scroobius Pip somehow manages to keep the mood elevated. During his readings the audience was serious and attentive but it didn’t stop them relaxing between the moments of tension. Again, this is due to Scroobius Pip’s ability to slip in and out of character without anything feeling forced. There was no jolting disconnect between the understated characters he assumed and his own persona.
An immensely gifted performer with words so powerful they could elicit a reaction from a dustbin, no matter if you are a previous inductee into the genre or not, Scroobius Pip should be seen by all.