The Word Café

The Word Café presents a line-up of stand-up poets, spoken word artists and musicians, which varies from day to day. The quality of performance was as varied as the show’s content, ranging from poor to outstanding.

The Word Café presents both the diamonds and the rough and makes for an enjoyable if varied hour.

Compere Julie Mullen, Edinburgh’s only tap dancing poet and founder of The Word Café, produced poetry far less inspired than her creation of the company. Her poem Grave Matters, for example, lacked sophistication and traipsed over a well-worn topic. An exception to otherwise unexceptional poetry was her erotic poem Cumquat, a delightfully silly composition from her book Erotic Poetry for Vegetarians and Vegans, which she performed with great panache.

The first act to be introduced by Mullen was singer songwriter Jasmine Rodgers, whose charmingly funny self-introduction far surpassed the one given to her by the compere. Rodgers’ acoustic ukulele and guitar music was incredibly beautiful, her voice as soft and sultry as her lyrics.

Rodgers was to be outshone only by Sara Hirsch, who produced the stand-out performance of the show. Her poem S and T were here is a triumph, both in terms of content and presentation. Hirsch gave an electric energy to her witty and moving piece, and proved her status as current UK Slam Champion to be well-earned.

Alan Woolfson’s performance did not pack the same punch, starting slowly with some awkward stand-up and equally awkward use of props. However, as his performance picked up pace it improved immeasurably. Woolfson’s poetic style suits snappy delivery, and when he focuses on the energetic delivery of his words, their wit shines through.

The final performer, Mel Jones, fell alongside Mullen as one of the weaker links. Much of her poetry lacked the humour it was professed to contain, and her use of rhyme often felt uncomfortably forced. Most of her poetry and stand-up depended on a single comic conceit, which would simply be repeated in different forms, becoming less witty the more times it was rehashed.

The Word Café presents both the diamonds and the rough and makes for an enjoyable if varied hour.  

Reviews by Megan Dalton


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The Blurb

Take two Radio 4 poets, Matt Harvey: ‘...not only funny but tender and true’ (Guardian), and Kate Fox: ‘funny and endearing with enough journalistic cynicism to cut through the whimsy’ (Sunday Telegraph), mix well with Liverpool poet Julie Mullen: ‘does for sprouts what Wordsworth did for daffodils’ (Brian Patten). The Word Café premiering at Queendome. Wonderful poetry continues in Bunker One!