Harry Baker: Proper Pop-up Purple Paper People

Harry Baker: World Slam Champion 2012, immaculate wordsmith and genuinely nice guy. It’s a rare sight to see people squeezing themselves into a tiny pub basement for a free spoken word event at noon during the Fringe, but Baker is having to clear floor space just to get his excited audience in. He does so with nonchalance and easy humour, ‘It’s a nice problem to be having,’ he grins calmly at the bustling audience. This influx of people may be due to his recent exposure on Radio 1 from Scott Mills, which has gained him some well-deserved attention.

Baker has some slick wordplay for you, and he’s going to rap it, sing it, change costumes a couple of times and totally disarm you with his self-effacing charm. He speaks about what he knows and balances nuggets of hilarity and self-deprecating anecdotes with moments of real sincerity. Just having finished a year of university, content is centred on Freshers week, german class, and joining unsuitable societies. Everything is brushed with a childlike enthusiasm, he laughs at his own puns, parodies boy bands and sings about board games and desert. The spell over the audience is tangible; mouths are open continuously, closing only intermittently to laugh, then falling open again. Every poem is delightfully different and he showcases a number of different performance styles. Although the teenager may not at first appear to be a hip hop star, he goes on to prove this assumption completely wrong; Baker knows how to hold a room and has hidden a poetic surprise around every corner. An impressive, intelligently written show from an exceedingly likeable young poet.

Baker leaves us with the message that he believes in people. Well, people should believe in Harry Baker right back; he’s an inventive and brilliant young talent who is definitely one to watch. See him now whilst there's still that little bit of floor space left to sit on, soon the crowds will be queuing out the door and paying through the nose.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

Current UK Poetry Slam Champion is back with poems, puns and pole-dancing, German raps and gangsta maths, even representing his country in the Poetry World Cup. 'Fringe at its best' ***** (WhatsOnStage.com, 2011).

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