Yep, no review from Wednesday because Wednesday was all about me, me, ME! Best audience figures of my run so far, and then narrowly pipped in my BBC Slam heat. In between the two I went for a lovely long lunch with my mum and good friend Christine, and I didn’t think about poetry at all. So there.
Yesterday I only managed to see two shows, both on at the Banshee Labyrinth back-to-back. The first was Pornography and Heartbreak by David Lee Morgan. Morgan knows that this is a difficult show to sit through, and he gives the audience permission to leave if they need to, which is generous of him because they do leave when they really should stay. He’s doing something rather magnificent here, in the land of cheap sex jokes and bullshit titillation, crappy comedians scoring laughs with obscenities, shows called Sex With Animals, and all the other unnecessary burlesqueries. He’s being truthful, unflinchingly looking at what must be a typical hypocrisy – the gap between a principled man’s outward attitudes towards women, and his fantasy life including his relationship with pornography and prostitution. The show has a simple device – lights on when the narrator is talking straight, ‘dark’ when we see into his hidden thoughts. I know people have been and may well continue to be offended by some of the material, but this is not pornographic, it is explicit and there is a difference. Essential viewing.
Following on from him was Becoming Wonder Woman by Sophia Blackwell, which really is about a personal journey towards self-acceptance and confidence. Blackwell is a top-notch poet, there are many pieces in here to enjoy, but I was a little disappointed by the show overall. She does link moments of personal growth to elements of Wonder Woman’s mythography, but the linking spiel in which she does so felt under-scripted, over-hasty and rambling, full of ‘kinda’ and ‘sort of’. Her own experiences were presented as the main point of departure, so that Wonder Woman became a submerged thread, a tag-on costume gimmick, rather than a driving structural device.
Today I have my final show, and hope to get to Chris Thorpe’s show at the Northern Stage camp in Kingshall; Asking Nicely by Hannah Chutzpah and 13 Years An Artist by Mark Mace Smith (both at the Stafford); and maybe I’ll finally stay up long enough to see Tim Clare’s hit show Be Kind To Yourself. Wish me luck…