Looking for words this Edinburgh Fringe? Comfortable to let content to take centre stage? There are over 3,000 shows and more than 250 venues. I’ve managed to cut it down to just these 3 performances of spoken word, comedy and poetry:
The dripping vaults of the Banshee Labyrinth provide a suitably spooky setting for Grave Invaders an energetic spoken word show by Mark Grist, MC Mixy and Tim Clare. Tenuously held together by their account of a 2,500 mile pilgrimage round the graves of Britain’s best-loved dead poets, there are delightful departures into the sex appeal of poet’s (with clever nods to e.e.cummings amongst others), the small town mentality of Portishead and the high admission charge for entry to Poet’s Corner (death being a cheaper option). The Thursday night crowd got right behind the performers for the culmination of the show – the poet’s death match. Within an hour we’d gone from polite anticipation to cheering and applauding as a man dressed as a bat, a ‘space unicorn’ and a mild-mannered teacher used poetry to fight it out to the increasingly bitter end.
Ian D Mountfort’s Midday Seance
Comedian Tom Binn’s character Ian D Montfort, the Sunderland psychic, conducts a Midday Séance promising to contact not the friends and family who have passed to the other side, but all those other people you don’t yet know. Due to the time difference most of the spirits are Australians, he informed a venue stuffed to the door with open-minded cynics. Clever words with a deadpan delivery will have you astounded and laughing by turns. He conducts the equivalent of the magician’s sleight of hand but by using words, to deliver convincingly accurate readings. Unnervingly accurate and funny in equal parts, it’s a show that will have you retiring to Holyrood 9a next door to discuss and to connect with the spirits behind the bar.
For more on the way language is used by psychics, clairvoyants and mind readers have a listen to Stephen Fry’s English Delight. Illusionist and mentalist Derren Brown talks about the many ways language can be used to create magic and to manipulate our minds.
Crap Time Lord by Richard Tyrone Jones
Spoken word show, Crap Time Lord by performance poet, writer and comedian Richard Tyrone Jones is all about his experience of near fatal heart failure at the age of 30. Richard Tyrone Jones has a playful relationship with his own mortality. Expect many Doctor Who references – to quote the flyer, ‘like Doctor Who he has two hearts and a cancelled BBC series – unlike Doctor Who, this is due to heart failure’.
Armed with a pen and a pacemaker Richard re-creates his near death experience through poetry and storytelling. BAM! It feels like you’ve been electrocuted while dancing at Planet Nightclub in Wolverhampton. But actually it’s the implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) device, fitted beneath the collarbone, kicking in to administer a shock to keep your heart going. And this is going to happen another couple of times, until through a matter of trial and error the right settings are found.
Rather than being morbid or depressing, this show has you going away feeling uplifted – while also very glad not to have heart failure.