Thursday, 12 August, 2010

A feast of festival poetry

The Camden Eye – 6th – 9th Aug 2010 – 19:30 (4:00 inc. interval)

The rrrants ‘Ranting Festival’ at the Camden Eye was part of Bardaid 2010, a scheme to raise money to provide non-curriculum, independent poetry books for students and teachers. Compere Paul Eccentric introduced the evening by enthusiastically declaring their location as right in the heart of Camden which was itself an example of living, breathing poetry.

First up was Sheriff Will Barrow whose work offered a vivacious assessment of knife crime, poetry and London life.

The gorgeous, hushed tones of Fatima Al Matar were a welcome contrast; seeming at first to be quiet and contained she soon captured the audience’s attention with her haunting, lyrical words. The enigmatic Alan Wolfson was a breath of fresh air as he spun tales of festival madness with an impromptu accompaniment from rrrant’s Ian Newman on double bass for his final piece ‘Guns in the World’.

The vivacious pace of the very Scottish Alain English was a treat for the ears and his poem ‘I like strong women but I can’t stand bitches’
proved a real crowd pleaser. The gentle visual metaphors of Fay Roberts showed incredible emotional intelligence whilst displaying a quiet charm.

Introduced as a ‘Rhythmic Casanova’ Poeterry didn’t disappoint; he spoke about lust, made us laugh and by the end even had everyone joining in. Straight–talking Super Pennie performed with both humility and bravery which engaged the audience in each and every word.

The biting social commentary unleashed by Captain of the Rant clearly came straight from the heart and was tasty food for thought. Mat Lloyd came booming on stage carrying a retro stereo and his confident, honest performance style certainly packed an emotional punch.

Quirky Alex Iamb spoke of the thrill of performing and the pain of rejection and rather magnificently exposed the contradiction of confidence in an artist. The Antipoet performed enigmatic beat poetry before finally vocal pugilist David J took to the stage. His oral dexterity was immense as he masterfully weaved words and sounds into captivating anecdotes, riffs and stories.

The eclectic line up was a dazzling display of poetry, comedy and music – sometimes all in the same moment. There’s no doubt rrrants went the extra mile to make the audience feel both involved and inspired. Also, rather than just providing a fringe festival tasting menu they laid on a full banquet of spoken word talent. It’s admirable that a fringe show provided so many acts in the line up and even more so that it was all in aid of a good cause.

Credits: (alpha order): Performers – Alain English, Alan Wolfson, Alex Iamb, Captain of the Rant, David J, Fatima Al Matar, Fay Roberts, Mat Lloyd, Poeterry, Sheriff Will Barrow, Super Pennie, The Antipoet.
Compere – Paul Eccentric.

(c) Hannah Rodger

Reviewed Monday 9 August 10 / The Camden Eye

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