Adelaide Fringe 2015
So much variety, some from quite unexpected sources, a children’s author poeting about sexual assault, an imagist poet painting vivid pictures in your mind, a poet telling a story about the perils facing paramedics, a big strong young poet hip hopper opening a vein about his life and one of the best hip hoppers in South Australia turning to the mic without music and wowing us all with the ease of his crossing over to spoken word, all blended with some gutsy poetry from Paroxysm Press publications by the MC.
The 6th Paroxysm Press Showcase at the Adelaide Fringe line-up “brought it” with some surprising pieces showcasing these wonderful performers. MC Kerryn Tredrea kept it ticking along nicely reading some classic poems from Paroxysm Press’ books between performers at The Coffee Pot, a favourite venue for the local spoken word scene. The variety was as broad as any before it and the audience loved it all!
Jules Leigh Koch kicked off with powerful imagery through poetic words. His experience working with special needs kids and housing co-operatives capturing the autistic child isolated in the school yard without naming his disability and the avoidance of communication by a domestic violence survivor in emergency housing. His location poems painted beautiful images of places familiar and some not yet visited. Children’s poet and author Annie Fox crossed over to the dark side with surprising ease. Her poetry had us all hanging for the next line. I enjoyed all of her poems, if you can enjoy such subjects, but especially the story of a rape victim working with a Police artist shortly after her attack. With each identikit reconstruction of her attacker’s face we felt her reclaim her life, so well told we could almost taste the sourness of vomit in the survivor’s mouth.
Well known poet Rachel Mead brought us a story of paramedics dealing with ice addicts, but it wasn’t the usual fare of psychotic violence we so often see pictured on the news. This story of a house so completely covered in excrement that paramedics refused to enter the bedroom where two bodies were located, but they weren’t dead. It was much worse than that. Rachel’s blunt recounting of a true story had my gag reflex engaged at one point, but my attention was glued throughout. A wonderfully stark piece of writing well read at the mic by a wonderful wordsmith.
Red Kelly, a young hip-hopper poet whose openness and honesty about life had me visualising him opening life wounds, bleeding onto the page before bringing it to the stage with a courage many don’t have. I’ve felt those things he expresses in lines like, “the reason behind lonely Irish coffees on a Saturday night” and we’ve all known “an anarchist on paper” who didn’t make the stand. A great new talent on South Australia’s stages.
We finished the evening with poetry from Koolta, one of the best hip hop artists in the state. He brought his lyrics from 3 songs that cross the border between song and spoken word so well, covering racism experienced by a Lebanese lad and socio-political commentary in the perfectly worded “News Limited or limited news”, a reference to the local newspaper in a one paper town, but with far-reaching implications for the world. He finished his set with a beautifully emotive piece, “Pigeon Lady” which is being released on his next album, “Revolutions Per Minute”. South Australia’s Spoken Word Scene is thriving, because of gigs like this.