There are certainly poetic moments in this ‘stand-up poetry’ show, but by and large Rhymes with Orange is not poetry as you might expect it. It’s not even performance poetry as you might have come to know it, with its refreshing mix of musical elements, character pieces, and ‘poems’ that are really more like dramatic monologues.
“I’m getting a bit preachy now, aren’t I? I shat on a car once, you know…” is a quote that may very well sum up the tone of the evening. In the middle of a thoughtful piece, the poet interrupts himself to apologise for getting too close to, like, kind of real poetry, in a way. It’s difficult to judge the show as poetry for that reason – most of the performers are resisting being poets as such, even as they struggle to find another label for what they’re doing.
Whatever they are, in fact, doing, it’s all casually witty, self-deprecating at times, charmingly egotistic at others, and thoroughly Millennial. A self-conscious English lit student frets over a game of Never Have I Ever, Ellie Dawes runs away with a brilliant manifesto for Generation Gin, and Kimberley Pryor gives us something sad and familiar in a poem that begins with “There are too many babies on my newsfeed”.
A particular highlight is the work of Gecko, who walks the line between poetry and song like a modern-day bard, with his sweetly funny but somehow emotionally resonant lyrics.
If you’re looking for edgy word-weaving, poems that will change everything for you, and that kind of ‘yeah, man’ finger-clicking atmosphere, then this might not hit the spot. If you’re looking for poetry that will make you laugh in an honest, ‘that’s so me’ way, then Rhymes with Orange can provide.