Harry Baker is a young middle-class blonde rapper-turned-poet. He is gawky, geeky and really into maths. He is also completely hilarious. His sweet, charming and original poetry is littered with puns, cleverly placed metaphors, surprising rhymes and brilliant jokes that continually riff of the fact that he is a young middle-class rapper-turned-poet who’s really into maths.
Baker is precociously talented and optimistic, and his poetry is sincere and delightful.
He creates a fun atmosphere even before the gig starts by chatting with the audience – not an easy task in the dingy dungeon like room we’re in at the Banshee Labyrinth. He declares at one point in his set, ‘I love playing with words’ – and several of his poems very cleverly rewrite famous songs, giving them a tongue-in-cheek theme with uproarious results (99 Problems But Maths Ain’t One). In a ‘remake’ of Ed Sheeran’s A-Team he switches all the heartfelt lyrics so they refer to desserts. Self-effacing and effortlessly witty, he’s a terrible singer but he plays with that too.
Baker barely ever has a weak line, the puns flow out of him like water. He has lots of fun with alliteration in Pop-up Paper Purple People and gets the whole audience wrapping their tongues around some ridiculous German vocabulary. He so relishes bringing out the next epic pun that he gives us knowing looks slightly too often, and his ‘rapper arms’ are slightly irritating, but these small foibles can be forgiven because the jokes are consistently brilliant. He mixes fun geeky scientific facts, literary wit and an unswerving knack for crowd-pleasing punchlines. Baker is precociously talented and optimistic, and his poetry is sincere and delightful, a spoken word highlight of this year’s PBH Free Fringe.