Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

Do you see that purple section in your Fringe guide? Yeah, the one just before Theatre but following Music. That’s the Spoken Word section. It’s the smallest segment of the 2019 Festival Fringe guide. Yet, it has all the humour, fervent emotion, social commentary, and yes, knob gags you’ll find in other sections.

Loud Poets: Best of the Fringe is tirelessly working to broaden the mindset of poetry to familiar, and unfamiliar audiences. Each night, poets are given a platform to share their work with the crowds.

This evening, performers Dave Pitt, Emma Purshouse and Steve Pottinger showcase a selection of their works – long and short. Hosted by Mark Gallie, there is no set ‘theme’ per se, rather a three-act structure which illustrates the guide poets go on. First, we get a taster of those first poems, those sonnets we all thought were so rad in school, a terrific ice-breaker.

Next, in a wonderfully ‘original’ concept is buzzwords. The poets are given a word, for which they quickly search their catalogue for a corresponding poem. We get a sense of the personalities, their reactions to pressure, outbursts of comical frustration.

Closing us out, each poet is given fifteen minutes to offer anything they like. They share jokes, chat with the audience and give a comfortable sense of community. With all of the Poets from the North of England, the Black country, a number of their poems focus on elitist issues with dialects, working-class stereotypes and sex.

It’s a fascinating evening for those with an interest in poetry, whether it be to give it a try or an age-old love. They may have the smallest section in the book, but Loud Poets have some of the highest-quality acts with over 70 performers throughout the Fringe.