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FringeReview UK 2017

Slooshy Wordshow

Gavin Robertson

Genre: Poetry-Based Theatre, Spoken Word

Venue: Rialto Theatre


Low Down

“It’s a look at all sorts of things – my 55-word prose ‘word sketches’, character portraits, science, and ignorance, the quest for knowledge, the current state of the world around us, confusions and cruelties…” – an evening of poetry from the legendary Greg Byron.


“Six hundred pounds –
A reasonable fee
A job well done in January…
Barclays, Nat West, TSB
Inland revenue, VAT
Have all had shares of my money
Into the valley of debt rode my six hundred.”

Welcome to an evening of like poetry; an hour or so in the company of Greg Byron, middle aged and ready to share his musings on life, on mortality, on our troubled present time of social media, of let down and even, occasionally, of hopefulness. A poetry gig, a spoken word variety show, a cabaret, this is low key, comedic, theatrical but mostly direct, spoken word performance.

Meet a performer with the courage to be gentle, yet that gentleness accompanies and delivers a power – a power in the words and in the delivery. Greg Byron is a creation of actor and writer Gavin Roberston, an amiable companion for the evening, he chats with us, gives us a wink and a double take, and yet is a soul who has lived, and gathered these poems, these observations, reflections along the way. They are, for the most part, rhymers, with sharpish meter. The rhythm allows him to protest, to ponder, to observe the quirks of life, and also to play with that rhytmn cleverly and add accessibility and entertainment to the proceedings.

Occasionally the mask slips and Roberston is there. I think there is a decision to made here, a decision not easy for an actor of Robertson’s undoubted ability to make. Ultimatelty these are Roberton’s poems, his experiences and the character he has created doesn’t always feel necessary to the enterprise. Is this a fine poetry performer hiding a little behind a theatrical creation? I’d personally like to see either even more of Greg Byron or for that need to fall away and for Robertson himself to step through. He’s certianly more than good enough.

No harsh poetry slammer needed here, this is direct performance, all the more impactful for its bare simplicity. A man, a set of poems a Dave-Allenesque stool and some clever, slooshy word play.

This show could well be a hidden gem at the Fringe. A gem it is for its clever selection of words, its skilled delivery, its courageousness to be gentle and allowing word-play and word power to play out as a piece of live literature that is throughly entertaining; those words reach us with ease and effect. But this show of words doesn’t deserve to be hidden. It will provide value and enjoyment for both spoken word and theatre audiences. Even a comedy audience seeking out a gag-free but warm smiling hour will be well served. Highly recommended.