Think you know poetry? Think again. Loud Poets are back for another Fringe, proclaiming a new breed of pint-drinking spoken word for the masses. Thoughtful and inclusive, it's thin on polo necks and rich in subject matter.
Opening with a witty send up of pretentious poetry – think gambolling puppies and a young woman laughing in slow-motion – videos break up the sections of live spoken word, and add a lot of humour to the performance. The poems, put together by the four Loud Poets and one guest performer, are beautifully accompanied by musicians, and feature diverse material which go from light to serious and everything in between. Ground covered includes: Kevin Costner's role in Waterworld; feminism; middle-class swimming pool habits; refugees; bullying; and a poem from guest poet Harry Baker about the problems James Bond faces introducing himself to new people. In short, no subject is too low or high – although each is dealt with in a clever and subtle way.
For me, highlights of the show were a piece addressed to a daughter, railing against society encouraging feminine meekeness and promising "I will not let them prune you". Another is a piece about the imagined love lives of swimmers at a Victorian pool, starring the "water-dipping moustache of Cuthbert". Each night there's also another featured performer from the Fringe, making no two shows the same.
Silent archive footage plays throughout the performance, which sometimes was a little distracting. However, the carefully-crafted words themselves soon totally absorb you. Sometimes the short films between performers slightly jarred with the content of the poems, but they added an overall continuity to a show that deliberately has no over-aching theme – except, of course, for thought-provoking wordplay.
Down-to-earth and easy to access, this is a brilliant introduction to spoken word with a surprisingly broad appeal. The Loud Poets wisely don't try to compete with more the flamboyant side of the Edinburgh Fringe, but instead present an understated, slick performance that will leave you pondering the content for days after.