Venue: Poetry Arena
With the main stages in full swing by the time Michelle Madsen enters the stage to compere, the Poetry Arena has a lot to compete with to win over a hungover crowd who possibly partied too hard on Friday evening, but compete it does.
Masden gets off to a great start, despite immediately disappointing Max, a younger audience member, by his chosen poem losing the vote to be read. Rousing crowd morale and waking us all up a bit, she successfully wets our appetite for Joe Sellman-Leava’s, Labels.
Interweaving experiences from his own life with impressions of key figures and so-called celebrities in today’s culture, he portrays the link between modern day immigrant attitudes and by-gone era racism… or what should be by-gone at least.
Peeling and sticking labels on himself and audience members throughout, he makes some stark observations about how we, rightly or wrongly, compartmentalise ourselves and those around us, fitting each other into neat little boxes, yet criticise others for doing precisely the same. His delivery is top-notch and his message loud and clear. A definite one to follow to The Fringe if you can.
A brief appearance from Tom Gill in between main acts leaves us wishing we could have seen more of him. We are treated to an incredibly witty play on place names from the tube map and a heartfelt plea for fairer educational politics inspired by his little brother before he departs to make way for the act most appear to be waiting to see, Ripped Off Revolting Rhymes.
Hosted by Laura Mucha and including a team of special guests, we are offered charmingly animated renditions of both the Revolting Rhymes we know and love and some fairytale interpretations of their own. From a Belle who is so beautiful she makes people sick…literally…, to an incredibly smelly Rapunzel whose stint in her tower lacks use of a shower (see what I did there?). Add in a troll and some goats and encourage participation and it’s a wart-burstingly revolting recipe for success. A perfectly pleasing poetical two hours and a fantastic start to a Latitude Saturday.