Hosted by the effulgent (according to her title card) Fay Roberts, this event did as promised, presenting diverse voices from a number of different spoken word artists. Held in the supposedly former torture chamber in Banshee Labyrinth it was amazing how welcoming the dim, bunker-like space felt.
The atmosphere was enthusiastic and supportive and all of the performers were engaging.
The Other Voice Spoken Word Cabaret is an ‘almost daily’ performance with changing line-ups, so each show will be different, while following the same structure. Host Fay Roberts began with a piece of her own and explained the world of performance poetry for any newbies in the audience.
We heard a good range of poetry presented by the sumptuous Tina Sederholm, the mostly nocturnal Anna Perry, who wowed us with ‘The woman who had nothing left’ in a style after Edgar Allen Poe. The unstoppable AJ McKenna’s set was full of heart as she presented her experiences as a transgendered woman through poem, which I found honest and moving. Audience members Danny and Ross each took a turn on stage as part of the open mic section of the show. Featured artist Elaine Foster delivered spoken words about her mixed British/Malaysian cultural heritage, including a beautiful poem in tribute to her late grandmother.
The atmosphere was enthusiastic and supportive and all of the performers were engaging. Also, there were sweets, which we passed around the audience. Roberts mentioned it was a pity that a show such as Other Voice had to exist – and that this diversity wasn’t always represented in the spoken word/slam circuit.
Running at just an hour, the cabaret did feel a little too short and ended abruptly, although Roberts did a good job in managing time for performers. If you’re a fan of performance poetry, or if you’re just curious, this free show is an excellent way to spend some time at the Fringe.