Greg Byron, the legendary “Standup Poet”, offers his well considered choices for poetry and spoken word at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
When I came to Spoken Word fairly late, and was at Assembly in 2018, I was heartened to have a couple of Loud Poets come see me and stay for a brief chat afterwards. One of my naive questions to them (auld poetic souls that they were to me then) was ‘What’s it called? Is it Live Literature, Poetry, Spoken Word… what?’ I don’t recall being given a fixed answer, which is useful for this year’s picks because to be honest there are some events on in the Spoken Word category that I’m not sure quite fit. They’re more like ‘An Evening With…’ or a straightforward interview setup. Then again, if it’s not Theatre, Drama, a Musical or Comedy, where do you put it!
So, as a loose thought without too many specifics, take a look at what’s on at The Stand (venue 7) this year – there are several ‘one-offs’ with folk such as Ken Loach, Jeremy Corbyn, Anas Sarwar and Eddie Reader, all under the heading ‘In Conversation With…’ I’m particularly recommending the last one because, well, I’m a fan and once had a hand in getting her to appear at The Brighton Festival!
I’ve already mentioned Loud Poets, and I’m a bit sad that this year they seem to be hosting only three shows at their usual haunt The Scottish Storytelling Centre. Always with a good-sized audience I’d book a ticket if I were you. Their formula of several guests plus music in a fairly long show (for the fringe) is never less than entertaining and the allure of variety means there’ll be something you can’t fail to enjoy.
Celebrating over forty years hitting the establishment where it hurts, along with some music and other more personal stuff is Attila the Stockbroker. Punk, post-Punk, and just some sharp-edged satire, this is a recommendation for those who wake up with low-level anger every morning, perhaps. Go get some catharsis!
Under the category of ‘Theatre’ in the brochure there’s Luke Wright. Having arrived with Aisle 16 in about 2000, Luke has done lots of stuff since, and so he’s celebrating twenty-five years in shows from Aug 4th to 15th only. Not confined to speaking aloud and in rhyme, Luke’s more theatrical shows do blur the boundaries of ‘where to put him’ – but look, that’s what a fringe is for!
Lastly, here’s a show I know nothing about but I’m pointing it to you because, well, we should all take a chance, and sometimes all you have is the blurb about the show on which to base your decision. James Pretlove is here telling a true-life tale about his Mother’s unexpected suicide, but it sounds redemptive and intriguing… a little on the outskirts of the City… take that chance.