There are some great moments in Gary from Leeds’ surreal one-man spoken word show,
With the chance to develop further, Yeti could be a truly unique experience.
As we take our seats in the intimate Royal Oak, Gary from Leeds - performance poet, dressed in white clothes and a Yeti furry hat, hands out our ‘very vital’ ‘Yeti Action Pack’. He introduces himself and assures us that he is actually Gary and he is actually from Leeds. If you can’t have a good start, at least have a factual one, he says.
Self-deprecating jokes are a constant throughout and are complemented by Gary’s slightly dejected air as he presents his poetry and life (Yeti) views. He seems to walk a line between stand-up and spoken word, informing us that poetry is the failed stand-up comedian’s last meal-ticket. Whilst much of the poetry is comedic, some is also quite touching. In particular a poem dealing with the longing for an authentic home and for Yorkshire was eccentrically moving. Other sections are hilarious; the poetry rave, in which our ‘very vital’ Yeti Action Packs suddenly made sense, was a particular highlight.
The show is deliberately anarchic and has a ‘thrown-together’ DIY feel to it. Whilst Gary from Leeds tells us quite openly that there are not going to be any life messages in this show (Des’ree covered them all in her 1998 hit single, Life), I left not entirely certain what it was that Gary was trying to achieve with Yeti. If it was a spoken word or poetry show, I wanted more poetry, or if it was a comedy show I wanted more comedy. Of course it’s possible to have successful hybrids, but at the moment, Yeti seems to be lacking some cohesion.
However, Gary from Leeds is an oddly charismatic poet with some wonderfully bizarre ideas. With the chance to develop further, Yeti could be a truly unique experience.