The nature of the Spoken Word Showcase is such that each night is an entirely different affair, as Fay Roberts proudly announces at the beginning of the show. This, though somewhat troublesome for a reviewer, makes for a bitesize show filled with a diverse range of acts from all over the Fringe.
Fay and fellow host Dan Simpson talk proudly about spoken word’s growing presence at the Fringe, and the many shows and performers that are visiting each year in order to build not only their own reputations, but that of an underappreciated art-form. They were also pleased to point out that these showcases do not confine themselves to Free Fringe artists, though itself a pool brimming with talented contributors; it is as much about involving acts who have begun in places like the Banshee Labyrinths and have now made a name for themselves. As Luke Wright ran from his show to take part in ours, it was nice to see that these guys haven’t become too big for their boots; they do this because they love their work (though admittedly it doesn’t hurt as a plug either).
Simpson and Roberts are endearing and enthusiastic hosts who are clearly very enamoured with their trade, and the show hangs together nicely because of it. Their own poetry kicked off proceedings, and their disparate approaches – Simpson’s ode to pac-man somewhat different from Roberts’ strains of french refrain – hint at the diversity to come. We range from the Northern Irish wordsmith Rachel McCrum, to the American musicality of David Lee Morgan, to Luke Wright, whose bit explained why he has long since become a more commercial property. These guys each had their own unique take on performance poetry, and it was an insight into what would come in their solo shows.
Although the show I saw will of course be different to any other by virtue of the changing acts, you’re bound to find something to enjoy. It’s nothing to get overexcited about, but it’s a good opportunity to get a taste for a variety of shows in a small space of time.