Spoken Worlds, Old Cottage Tavern, Burton upon Trent

Host Gary Carr

Organised by host Gary Carr, this monthly spoken word event continues to provide a solid platform for experienced, and less experienced ,writers alike to trial their work in a supportive atmosphere. Trusty troubadours arrive from as far away as Buxton, Birmingham, Chesterfield and Tamworth to read to a knowledgeable and supportive audience.

For once, Gary Carr gave himself some reading time , and very welcome that was too. Dear Diary and The Collector shone, A Brief History of Time (about clocks) was the pick of the bunch. Rob Stevens picked up the zeitgeist of the summer with an amusing discourse on the travels of the Olympic torch called Sid the Sneeze. At home with a guitar as well, Rob excels at telling stories whether with musical accompaniment, comic or serious. He has promised an extended Sound of Music themed sequence – I can’t wait!

Ian Ward has been honing his art in recent months, and it shows. His impressive Lichfield Mysteries trio showcased a future performance, whilst his first trio, Withered Wychwood, the Ice Queen and Seasons of Time had him on familiar fantasy ground. It’s a bit like listening to Tales From Topographic Oceans from Yes, you know that it is good without having any real idea what it is all about!

A second time visitor was Dwane Reads from Chaddesden who is enthusiastically launching himself into the performance poetry circuit. Boasting bags of poems and energy , and thematically favouring “kitchen sink “ poetry, it will be intriguing to see how he evolves. Dea Costello is an occasional visitor who never fails to impress. She offered a wonderful mini sequence on snapshots of situations to which she then fills in a back story, and two beautiful poems about herons and seagulls. Tony Keaton too , drops in when he can, and invariably shines, this time with the wicked Fly Tipping.

Variety has always been a feature of Spoken Worlds, and so it proved tonight. Jeannie Jordan showcased an excerpt from her Buxton Fringe play Imperfect Cadence, Terry and Ray Holland performed a sketch with dialogue as hard edged as Tarrantino’s Reservoir Dogs. A different and exciting contribution was made by Mal Dewhirst who played audio recordings of workshop contributions made by members of the public inspired by Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb. The slightly echoey sound, and faint background noise from a cafe with rain occasionally audible in the background made for an intriguing and rewarding piece. And as if to remind us that he can write a bit too, he also dusted down My Town, a powerful polemic on the death of the High Street that seems to have improved still further with age.

That variety, combined with Karen Carr making a rare and strong contribution, made for another rich and enjoyable evening. Spoken Worlds next meets on Friday 18th May, 7,30pm start, free admission.
Gary Longden 21/4/12

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