"Thankyou for coming to this and not wandering around Bristol in a green felt hat, getting pissed in the name of St Patrick." This is Bristol Old Vic's Word of Mouth, about to prove once again that a poetry performance can move, amuse, and thrill every bit as dramatically as a play - and more succinctly & intimately too. Byron Vincent compèred with his usual enchanting dialectical dexterity, recalling a scary '80s childhood contending with waving gladioli, stranger-danger, and Mr Noseybonk.
First guest was World Slam Champ and BBC radio4 fave Elvis McGonagall who, having applauded our Paddy's day choice, metaphorically rolled up his tartan sleeves to give every aspect of modern culture a pasting - especially politics. Ferocity and wit in equal measure scythed through the coalition, banking, Cameron's Big Society ("how patronising is that? Enid Blyton meets George Orwell") and Operation Undying Conflict in Afghanistan.
Luke Wright has called his brilliant new show Cynical Ballads and performs his 'seven caustic tales from Broken Britain' as a powerpoint presentation with visuals ranging from Searle-like cartoons to quasi-lecture notes on the history of the ballad form. “Some poems work on the soul, some poems work on the funny bone” Luke says, but his do both: they're passionate and satirical, but every light jest has a dark shadow - as in his tale about The Luck of the Brungers which ends bleakly
If you’re wondering what the moral is, I’m afraid I’m wondering too.
Trolls like this will always win. And there’s nothing we can do.
Luke doesn't think Britain is really broken, he says, despite this collection of misfits and monsters, and he sees his show as a kind of angry nagging love-letter. And that's how it comes across, despite the yobs and the snobs and the drunks on the train - as a series of deeply felt and turbulent tales about the painful poignancy of human life.
Like Byron said at the start: “Everything’s ok really – well it isn’t, but it’s always been horrible, so that’s nearly the same.”
Four In A Bed has had its last outing - in Southsea, somewhat bizarrely, at The Cellars in Eastney. A great little pub venue, providing our actors for the first time with a stage & lighting to enhance their frolics. Performances peaked - great to end Nevertheless Productions short tour on such a high note.