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Fringe Review: Newtown Spoken Word

Newtown Spoken Word

Reviewed by Lorraine Ward

Newtown Spoken Word
Word Collective in association with the Newtown Festival
24 February
Newtown Community and Cultural Centre

A spoken word festival may not be everybody's idea of a good time. However I have been known to commit poetry myself, so I happily headed off to the Newtown Community and Cultural Centre.

It's a great venue. A small hall, with a small platform stage. Rows of stackable seating. An awesome sound and lighting system. There were six microphones set up onstage, so I knew we were in for some serious wordsmithing.

Despite so many competing attractions in Wellington this Friday evening, over eighty people turned up to celebrate the spoken word. So many were willing to participate that a time limit of three minutes per performance was set. Many managed to keep to this.

Performers found themselves facing a warm, supportive audience and treated us to a range of genres. We had poetry, short stories and song. There was even a reading in Anglo-Saxon.

Richard Whyte and Robin Kenealy delighted us with their two brackets of song, accompanying themselves on guitar, banjo and harmonica.

The Iowa Crew - Annabel, Meg, Heidi, Anne, and Fiona - are recent graduates of a poetry workshop. They proved themselves polished poets and performers. I particularly enjoyed Meg's "My Body is a Jug of Milk" and Fiona's "Writing Odes to Objects, Especially a Duvet."

Ciara Mulholland's raunchy rock raised the roof.

Gloryroad Topham, accompanied by Sam Stephens on piano, read a fairytale that had "the gleam of hot amber".

"The Devil's Inkspots" presented their organic song form exploring the concept of a pakeha mihi.

We had poems about cats, kiwis, hairdressers and the theft of towels. There were drinking stories and there were limericks. Some of the performances were incomprehensible. None (to me) were unenjoyable.

Damien Stewart, who had recorded and then deconstructed the entire event, presented an eerie and moving finale to the evening by playing this work.


Newtown Spoken Word press release
Scoop Full Coverage: Festival 06

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