Joanne Hartstone & Gavin Robertson. Treasury 1860. 7 Mar 2018
There's literary earnestness at Writers’ Week and rowdy theatrical hi-jinx at the Unearthly Garden.
But in the quiet centre of town in a rather streamlined and elegant bar where people can sit in comfort with a fine wine or cocktail and some yummy hot nibbles, there is Greg Byron, performance poet.
He’s a wonderful wandering bard and, of course, there’s no better bard space than a bar space.
Byron rolls up in a wonderful costume, waistcoat and long buttoned dress coat, very period and English and also very warm.
He’s here from the UK under the umbrella of the Joanne Hartstone season so one knows he has class.
He has a little black book which is full of his poems. He picks and chooses among them, sizing up his audience and the mood of the moment. He skips over Brexit poems and things he deems dark and dull. The US election, there’s a spot of fun. He reads a poem about the orange man. He has a poem about British political apathy, but he can’t be bothered to read it.
The audience is liking him already.
He’s a personable poet and has something of the actor about him. It turns out that he has had an acting career but that he has chosen life as a troubadour of rhyme and perhaps reason.
His poems have a bit of a satiric edge to them. A political whammy sometimes. Whimsy. Wit. Nostalgia. Surprise, surprise, even a Fibonacci poem. That feels like a first. It’s a ripper.
There’s an Attenborough poem, an eco-poem on the polluted sea, a Postcard from the Beach in Spring and there are recorded sound effects operated by Anna Thomas, behind the bar of Treasury 1860.
Just for variety, he throws in some prose.
It is easy to settle back and let Byron regale with his North England accent.
Greg Byron is his character name. The actor behind it is Gavin Robertson and one just has to admire the very essence of him, wandering the world with nothing but a talent and poetry. It’s a perilous living.
But he certainly breathes good and mindful air into the Fringe.
And. methinks, he may just be first poet ever to rhyme “Aristotle" with "golden wattle".
When: 7 to 18 Mar
Where: Treasury 1860
Also at Stirling Fringe - Coventry Library 9 to 11 Mar