Parole Parlate does not normally meet in December, but this year the organisers took a chance by doing so, resulting in one of the best attendances of the year. Much has happened poetically in Worcestershire in 2012 and those involved in organising in, and participating in, Parole Parlate have been at the heart of that. The second Worcester Literary Festival built on the promising foundations of the inaugural event, and the third, next summer promises to be the biggest yet boosted by a new “Friends of Worcester Literary Festival” scheme. The Hive, a joint venture new library, university and arts building opened in the year and played host to several PP regulars. Outdoors a very successful Malvern Walk lured those normally indoors , outdoors, and provided the platform for some great poetry too. So the Christmas special was as much about the years as a whole as it was a solus event.
Headliner was Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2012/13 Maggie Doyle. Every time I see her perform her heels seem to get higher, and her delivery more accomplished. She is proving to be an ideal ambassador for the post, hard-working, straight-forwards and unpretentious. She aims to connect with her audience- and invariably does. Her Merry Widow sequence is becoming quite a treat, her fantasy of bondage with Beckham the undoubted highlight of about the best set I have seen her perform.
Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn’s milieu is prose and flash fiction, and her seasonal short story How was it For You Joseph was customarily well crafted, her hymn to the moneylenders and politicians in playful light contrast. Worcestershire Stanza was very well represented this evening, not least because they nominated it for their Christmas social . Jenny Hopes White Light “ the trees were unashamed by this close scrutiny” and Sarah James the Garden Party “We dig under our nails for the dirt” both shone.
In Christmas party mode the tightly bodiced Suz Winspear entertained with Ode to the Christmas Shoplifter, the khaki helmeted Christopher Kingsley delighted with his quick-fire verse , and the bepiped Ian Glass enthralled with the Monster of Du Vet delivered at a speed which the waiting staff at Little Venice might have done well to emulate that evening.
Short stories are difficult to pull off performed, but Tony Judge’s extract from the parish magazine of Little Hope was funny sharp and an all round delight, Ian Ward read “A rebel Without a Clause” with his tongue firmly in his cheek.
In truth there was not a weak link in the entire evening. Host Lisa Ventura’s decision to pick experienced performers paid her back in dividends, and not just artistically. A gastronomically delayed start meant time was at a premium. Without prompting, everyone was concise, on time and sharp, with no overruns and performers routinely happy to underuse the maximum time available to them- proceedings prospered as a result.
Parole Parlate returns on Thursday 3rd January, 2013 at 7.30pm.