Monday 24 August 2015

Lynn Gerrard Live Review - Darkness & Decadence

Ralph sent his roving reporter Ella Godbold-Holmes off to Nexus Arts Cafe to review the Greater Manchester Fringe debut by spoken word poet and writer Lynn Gerrard. The show is a mix of comedy and poetry from her new book Darkness and Decadence.

It's the first of a four book deal with London's Wallace Publishing, the remaining three books to be released over a four year period.

The exciting thing about Lynn Gerrard's unique work is her ability to bring her words to life in her one woman shows. Next year she intends to expand on her performances taking in some of the other Fringe Festivals throughout the country as well as working on a play and a novel!

Darkness and Decadence - A review by Ella Godbold-Holmes

On Friday 24th July, I had the pleasure of being in the audience whilst filming Lynn Gerrard's poetry reading at the Nexus Cafe. It's an art cafe located in Manchester, and was the perfect venue for this comedic yet deep genre of poetry. As I entered the setting, I was greeted with a sense of warmth and friendliness, reinforced by the fact that Lynn herself was sat in the cafe, talking to her family members and the sound technician. 

As the cafe closed it's business and audience members began to file in, we realised the variety of people who had come to listen to her. Ranging from an older couple to a boy of about 13, the age difference in the audience would generally have affected the pieces read by the poet. But not with Lynn, which had not only a positive affect on the audience, but helped us view her pieces with a genuine air, as we knew it had not been censored for the audience.

Lynn with Elijah Blackmore and Ella Godbold-Holmes 
Lynn Gerrard read poems from her book whilst throwing in anecdotes of her family and life, giving reasons behind the poems and comedy to relieve any dark themes in the pieces. This constant stream of audience interaction and humour made for a comfortable atmosphere during her poetry reading, something which I found unique out of the poetry readings I had been to in the past. 

The first poem she read was entitled The Lovers and gave us a unique view of romance, as we listen to the relationship between Alice and Martin as it develops and eventually tumbles. The quick rhyme and sharp insults directed towards Martin give this generally angst filled theme a humorous twist, allowing us to see the comedic side of an altogether negative breakup. 

Lynn carried on with this theme, of taking negative situations and giving them a comedic twist, all whilst interjecting with anecdotes of her humorous family members.

One of the most memorable poems was Filth which began with many clich├ęs which people have come to expect from dirty poetry. 

Words such as 'member', emphasised the sexual nature of this poem. As I looked around the audience, I could see the second-hand embarrassment and, in some cases, fear on the faces of some of the people there, especially for the two teenage boys sat next to me. 

Therefore, it was clear to me that none of us expected the hilarious twist at the end, stating that it was not, as you'd expect, a dirty poem, but a poem about a dirty task. 

The relief and humour was clear for everyone in the audience, as Lynn Gerrard once again stimulates a variety of responses from her audience, the overwhelming one being awe at this woman's writing.

The night was wrapped up perfectly as she thanked the audience for staying and listening to her, staying behind to sell and sign copies of her book and get a picture with a few of the audience members, including myself. After this evening, I think it's safe to say that I not only feel privileged for the opportunity to film this performance, but for the fact that I got to meet such a talented poet. I would definitely recommend seeing one of her shows or buying her book!

Reviewed by Ella Godbold-Holmes

Photographs by Elijah Blackmore

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