Leyla Josephine is a regular on the Glasgow spoken word scene and has many awards and poetry slam titles to her name (including the Loud Poets‘ 2017 Grand Slam). This August she has taken the short trip east to perform her spoken word theatre show Hopeless. The title doesn’t exactly fill the audience with confidence that this is going to be an uplifting and joyful show but, Leyla has fifty minutes to prove us otherwise.
Hopeless begins with Leyla lying on the floor of the performance space, with a big black duvet covering her up. An alarm goes off and the snooze button is instantly hit. Eventually the performer emerges from the black snug duvet and begins to tell us about her lack of hope for the future due to the current political situation. Leyla Josephine uses poetry to express her honest thoughts and feelings. As the show progresses Hopeless becomes a more personal tale, where the performer looks back at her past and the Irish roots of her Great-Great Grandfather. She weaves together storytelling and performance poetry to paint a picture of universal struggle and strife and uses the tale of her family to move the story forward.
The Space at Jury’s Inn on Jeffrey Street might not exactly be the most charismatic and interesting venue on the Fringe. It is a conference suite with some stage lights and a black back drop. Leyla Josephine does a great job in taking the audience away from this space with her brilliant wordplay and excellent turn of phrase. She has the ability to draw an audience into her poetry and present a visual picture with her words. This is a fantastic thing to experience even when the performer is describing a bleak setting, where hope seems a distant fantasy. Hopeless is not all about negativity though. The conclusion is uplifting and positive and this is the lasting impression of the show.