Up Your Game: The Downfall of a Noob

Dominic Berry takes us on a personal journey in his spoken word show inspired by the world of online gaming. He is open, friendly and can be very funny. Despite these positive points, Up Your Game: Downfall of a Noob is generally a bit uninspiring.

He very cleverly times much of his poetry to specific sound effects on his video game score.

Berry needs to calm down. He annoyingly quips ‘my friends’ far too often during the piece and ruins some of his best jokes by overdoing them, taking a good punchline and then repeating it until bleached of its original colour.

Berry has set himself an ambitious task to manage all the confluent elements he includes; poetry, comedy, videogame music, commentary, audience participation and even costume changes. He flits around between different modes of expression and characters in a way which means his central message is diluted and confusing.

He dons a giant mask in the shape of a PS3 controller with red eyes and an awful evil laugh. The character is designed to help us understand the control his love of videogames has over Berry’s life, but it would have been better to have respected the intelligence of his audience who do not need such an obvious (and distracting) signpost.

The strength of this show lies in some fun bits of audience participation, particularly when he freestyles a poem based on our suggestions for our favourite videogames. He also very cleverly times much of his poetry to specific sound effects on his video game score.

Berry needs to trust himself to be able to write poetry that will speak for itself. His message is a good one exploring what it’s like to be bullied, feel worthless and have no friends. Sometimes his verse is very wise – ‘loneliness can be bigger than the sky’ – but instead of focusing on poetry that conveys these messages, he relies on silly gimmicks (including stripping down to his y-fronts) to hammer his points home.

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Performances

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The Blurb

Dominic's poems have been seen on Channel 4 and BBC (this show's Call of Dooty poem was performed on last year's BBC programme Greg and Celia’s Festivals Highlights, showcasing the best of 2014's Edinburgh Fringe). He has won poetry slams from Manchester to New York and received five Arts Council grants to tour his previous poetry shows. This show is all about losing. Through music, comedy and 8-bit 'special' effects, watch Dominic lose video games ... and friends. Could the meaning of true happiness really lie in a PS4 controller...?

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