Edinburgh Fringe 2015

The Lonely Poet

Tim Honnef

Genre: Solo Show

Venue: Sweet Grassmarket


Low Down

Tim Honnef presents a unique performance involving poetry, and a little bit of audience participation.


Tim Honnef provides Edinburgh Fringe with a unique piece in The Lonely Poet. There are two types of experiences to be had during this performance, one is to view it simply as an audience member and the other is to be selected to have the entire piece performed to them as if they were the only one there. Both have their perks, and possibly their drawbacks. This is definitely unique in my experience, is it breaking the fourth wall if only for one audience member? Perhaps he has just created a hole in the wall instead.

Tim Honnef is Jonas, he has spent the past seven years living alone in his grandfathers basement eating beans. But despite what everyone thinks, he has not been lonely. Through poetry, questioning, discussion, and interaction with an audience member Jonas explores his life and that of his late grandfather who was the true poet. It is difficult to pinpoint what the aim of the show is and of the point of the story yet his odd character, humour, and almost childlike quality made me not really care.

Being chosen as ‘his Zoe’ to perform the piece to it is easy to be sucked into his world and enjoy the experience – especially as I was given a carton of Um Bongo. Interacting with Jonas was both fun and slightly terrifying, he has a strong presence and endearing personality making it impossible for me, as someone who does not usually enjoy audience participation, to rebuff him. I did not even object when he had me dance with him infront of the small, but very real, audience. I do wonder how the performance is seen from the viewpoint of those not involved in the show, if the character of Jonas interacting with a nervous non-thespian is as interesting and funny as it is for the one involved.

The intimate setting works very well for this type of show, it would be interesting to see if creating an even more intimate setting would add more depth to the performance. It is sometimes difficult to take it too seriously, though the material has potential to take on much deeper, darker connotations. Tim Honnef interests me and has made me wonder about the progression of theatre and how the Fringe Festival is impacting on that.