Spoken Word Reviews


Is there a better place to tell ghost stories than Poole’s Cavern? It’s good to see this unique venue being used again for events like the ‘Mystery Stories’. No other festival has a Poole’s Cavern and its spaces were well used by the story tellers. It is one of the unmissable venues of the Buxton Fringe.

Leslie Oldfield gave an energetic telling of ‘The Lost Shoe’ which was about witchcraft at nearby Stoney Middleton. The story revolved around a stray girl taken in and taught the secrets of shoe-making - and, taught much more besides. Leslie told the story with short breaks to move us along the cave; adding to the suspense. An exciting and intriguing historical story with added interest being set in our local area.

Jill Scott-Neves told the next story about visitors from smoky Wolverhampton arriving for the fresh country air and waters of Buxton in its Victorian heyday. The story involved one visitor becoming separated from her tour group in Poole’s Cavern – I will say no more.

Finally we were brought almost up to date with a story set in 1969. Is there a more likely place for ghosts than in an old hospital where many thousands of people would have died over the years? This story too was macabre and at one point the audience physically jumped in shock. Adding to the spooky atmosphere, as we returned near to the cave entrance the evening air had cooled and fog had encroached into the cave.

Another presentation on 20th July.

Brian Kirman

SCHISM - Shadow Syndicate

Eighteen-year-old Isabelle Atkinson has been an integral member of Shadow Syndicate for many years. She says she was encouraged to put this spoken word show together. I am glad she got this support and encouragement as her performance was brilliant.

Isabelle offers to take us on a journey through her childhood to where she stands now at 18. She exudes a nervous, excitable energy on stage that engages her audience from the start. They are on side and ready to listen to the mix of her poetry and reflections on her journey so far. How do you navigate the transition from child to adult? There is no handbook and Isabelle tells her story.

The childhood section of her poetry was very short, but sweet, before launching into her teenage dirtbag phase and then her ensuing teenage years. Isabelle covers some familiar topics for teenage girls: friendship, self-image, mental health, but they never seem old hat. Her delivery is fresh and passionate.

The poetry itself rhymes (apart from one poem) and is delivered in the style of a classic performance poet. She is a highly engaging personality on stage.

More experience will enable her to time her piece and blend the narrative and poetry throughout. Remember to keep your book down and away from your face.

I loved the poems to her sister and her friends, they felt really honest and came from the heart. A raw talent who will go on to great things. Oh, and what fantastic boots!

Jayne Fanthorpe Walker

JOURNEYS - Chapel Arts Creative Writing Group

The Chapel Arts Creative Writing Group is based in Chapel-en-le-Frith and aims to encourage and promote writing across the High Peak; by the evidence of this showcase of its members' talents it is doing a great job!

This is their fourth appearance at the Buxton Fringe and this year they were presenting pieces on the theme of journeys. This proved to be an excellent choice allowing for multiple interpretations, various modes of transport and many destinations.

After an introduction by the group's organiser, Mark Henderson, who ably compered throughout, we kicked off with a piece by Simone Hubbard who included a short poem that had been created by AI on the journeys theme. This was a decent attempt as it stuck to the brief and even rhymed, but of course it failed deeply as it reflected no lived experience. It was the variety of experiences, coupled with the skill and imagination of the 8 performers that brought their stories and poems to life.

Next up was Sarah Marshall who in her piece entitled Corridor movingly described her journey after being laid low by a debilitating illness that left her initially incapable of any movement. She took us through the titanic efforts needed for her to achieve a 23m walk along the hospital corridor on her route to feeling that she was once more reunited with the world at large.

Mark then delivered his humorous tale of travelling to a convention to Poland at the time of the rise of the Solidarity movement with many discoveries to be made.

Anne Cawthorn gave us a dark tale of a pub stabbing that she assured us was "mostly true" and Peter Stellings's career in the Merchant Navy provided him with many anecdotes but I was particularly struck by his earliest memory of sharing a pram with the kindling collected by his mother.

Dave Orrett brought us back closer to home with an evocation of the tribulations of a snow-disrupted train journey to Stourbridge that we could all relate to. Sarah Lionheart's description of a bus journey was humorous and moving by turns, reminding us of the unexpected contribution that can be made by fellow passengers - in this case including reference to Zen spanking workshops and the sharing of boiled eggs.

With her tale of the joys of a Shetland festival, Ann Orrett had us all involved by getting us to provide the refrain to her storytelling - "Yay!" - which was lots of fun.

Stephanie Billen delivered a piece on the inability of her dad to take directions for his journeys despite asking for them and then handed over the presentation of a second work concerning travel in the future to Dave Orrett whose Liverpudlian accent fitted perfectly.

For even more variety the evening ended with an ensemble piece giving us a further episode in the life of Doris, Ethel and Fred. These characters have become a staple of the Group's presentation since they first made an online appearance in lockdown and the scene was welcomed by the audience who were obviously fans!

This was certainly worth the trip to the Rems Bar in Chapel en-le-Frith where the Group meet bi-weekly through most of the year and there is another chance to see them perform here, with a slightly different repertoire, on Sat 22nd. And if you need any more incentive, all proceeds go to the Little Cherubs charity.

Dan Osborne


In this one hour show, two of Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales are recited by actor, director and writer, Peter Vickers (winner of the Fringe New Writing award in 2022). Accompanying him on the piano is freelance journalist, David Collins.

The staging is minimal and focusses the audience on the stories themselves, encouraging them to engage their imagination. Both performers launch straight into the first story, The Happy Prince, a bittersweet tale of friendship and compassion. Peter recites the story entirely from memory (which is no mean feat) while David provides accompaniment at key points throughout. The combination of Peter’s characterisations and David’s piano is magical. Despite the absence of props Peter brings a physicality to the Happy Prince and the swallow that totally engages the audience. The stage is tiny, but he commands it throughout.

The second story was one I was not familiar with, but was no less wonderful. The Nightingale and the Rose is a tale about a nightingale that makes the ultimate sacrifice for love. Oscar Wilde’s haunting and beautiful prose is again recited faithfully from memory. The soft and mellow piano accompaniment deepens the connection the audience have to the protagonists. As the show flyer advised, both stories, were originally penned by Oscar Wilde for his own children, but still resonate deeply with adults.

If you are looking for a show that will appeal to all ages and conjure two beautiful stories, I would definitely recommend, ‘Oscar Wilde Fairytales’. Both performers bring Oscar Wilde’s words to life in a unique way. The stories will stay with you long after the show has ended.

April Irwin


How do people decide what to go to at the Fringe? Do they come for a laugh and stick to comedy shows? Some come to hear brilliant musicians, others to be moved by emotional drama, and some (it would appear from the good crowd at the Green Man) come to be stimulated by poetry and learn.

This brings me to Michael Gibson’s controversial show about Ted Hughes being mad. At least that’s what could be understood from the title of the show. However in the whole show we only had one poem by Hughes: ‘The Hawk in the Rain’, which Michael told us was, “a daft poem”. This sparked heated controversy amongst some audience members and for a few the provocation was too much.

After opening the show with a reading of ‘The Hawk...” Michael, who calls himself a ‘poetician’, delved back into the history of English poetry; as far back as the Gnomic Verses over a thousand years ago. He gave a handout of a verse about ‘fate’ written in ancient script; fortunately with a modern transcription. He moved on with John Skelton (1460) and Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542) whose poems were illustrated with an example boasting about his women and the dangers they faced in coming to his chambers; prescient as Ann Boleyn was famously one of them.

We met William Blake and looked at his famous poem, ‘Tyger Tyger Burning Bright’ with emphasis on the structure, rhythm and beats, which had been a preoccupation of Michael’s throughout the presentation. ‘Counting Beats’ by Robert Graves (1895) followed.

And then, and then we had a Ted Hughes poem, actually the same one as at the beginning, ‘The Hawk in the Rain’. Michael described Hughes as a good writer but a bad poet. This caused eruption in the audience as Ted Hughes was what they had come to hear about. There were heated discussions and eventually after a few members walked out in anger or frustration Michael was able to calm things down and close with two simple melodies on a reproduction of an ancient instrument,

The talk was about passion in some poets and this, as we saw, includes audiences.

We never did get to find out if Ted Hughes was mad.

Further performance on 21st and 22nd July.

Brian Kirman


The Gododdin odes form an epic tale of derring-do and braggadocio from the time between the fall of the Roman Empire and the conquest of England by the Angles and Saxons. Our host, Larry Park (lp), does it justice as he delivers this English translation with style and verve.

The Gododdin is one of the oldest poems in Welsh, an elegy to the heroes of the Gododdin tribe and telling their story as they prepare and then fight the Angles at Catraeth around 600 AD/CE where they were routed. The original odes were written by Aneirin the poet, known as 'he of the flowing verse', sometime between the 7th and 11th Centuries, though lp favours the earlier part of that period. Only one original manuscript survived, copied down over the years, with many hands involved, culminating in this one version of two sections, one in Old Welsh, and one in Middle Welsh.

The reading is woven seamlessly into explanations of the history of the Gododdin, the poet Aneurin and the manuscript itself. It’s great to see an epic of this kind delivered with passion and drama, without any loss of clarity as lp’s diction is wonderfully clear. To my ears the 'Welshness' of the piece hasn’t been lost in an excellent translation with some fabulous alliteration combined with lp’s rich Welsh accent.

lp clearly has a deep love for this poem, and relishes telling the tales, the explanations are clear and enrich our understanding – you may be surprised that in this time before the Anglo Saxon conquest the proto-Welsh speaking Gododdin were from South West Scotland and North East England and Edinburgh was one of their bases.

Some more eye contact with the audience may have enhanced the drama and connection, but this is a little gem of a show, you’ll be thoroughly entertained and will learn something too.

Stephen Walker

FREUD, ERIKSON & ME - Andy Gilbert

There’s a strand of bawdy, ribald comedy and word-play (oh, all right then - call it crude and vulgar) that goes right back to the days of Variety and Music Hall. It created a bond between its audience and performers and established a distance between ‘ordinary folk’ and the refined middle and upper classes. Andy Gilbert’s comedy and his poetry are kind of in the same vein - much, much more explicit than in Edwardian times but still knowing, self-deprecating and poking fun at himself and at bodily functions, sexual foibles and human weaknesses in general. Sometimes his comedy and poetry run in to one another, but there are other moments when a poem brings you up sharp and makes you much more reflective.

Andy has been coming to Buxton Fringe for a few years now and the peg that he hangs his show on this year is one suggested to him by a ‘well-educated’ friend - there he is, being self-deprecating again. Erik Erikson’s psychosocial developmental theory is a really improbable, if not unique, framework for a comedy show but in Andy’s hands it seems to work. Freud hardly got a look-in but fortunately there were no died-in-the-wool psychoanalysts present to take offence. Andy took his very appreciative audience through Erikson’s eight stages of life with humorous examples from his own experience and anecdotes and poems to match, though of course he has not reached stage eight yet (Ego Integrity vs. Despair, if you're interested).

Andy said at one point that he should be at Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival not Buxton Fringe, talking poetry with Stephen Fry and being interviewed by Lord Melvyn Bragg, but he knew that he never would be. And then he immediately went on to take love poems from Shakespeare and Byron and reinterpret them in his own modern idiom. His poems about having your heart broken, and contrasting nostalgia for more innocent times with their less pleasant reality were particularly striking, as was his last poem about saying your goodbyes and departing this life.

So, to sum up, so long as you don’t have a problem with adult humour, this is a very funny, and at times thought-provoking, way to spend an hour in the company of someone clearly fascinated by language and human frailty.

Graham Jowett


This is a musical journey reflected in the poems of Alan Budge.

We begin, as we must, with the Beatles and progress through the decades ending up with a retro David Bowie song about heroes with many diversions along the way.

Each phase of Alan’s musical journey was illustrated with a track from the era and his poems gave personal understanding of the importance of each phase to him.

Many older attendees will have had a similar journey probably with different emphases. Younger members of the audience will find some of the music half-familiar through repeated playings but will learn of the significance of the music in its time. For example Alan relates how ‘prog rock’ was getting a bit tired when along came punk and shook everything to the bones. The context of the times is missed when reviving ‘golden oldies’.

There were short anecdotes about concerts Alan has been to and some he hadn’t – for example the Beatles played at the Octagon in Buxton twice in 1963. The first time they were an unknown band who mingled with the audience after the show. A few months later after a sudden leap to fame they played again because Brian Epstein insisted they keep the commitment made before stardom. This was just a few weeks prior to playing to millions on the Ed Sullivan show in the US.

Alan theorised that the Sixties and Seventies were times of revolution. In the Sixties, with rock, we rebelled against our parents, in the Seventies with punk we rebelled against our older brothers. Now there is not much to rebel against (musically) and so genres tend to live comfortably alongside each other. It would be interesting to see if younger people agree with this.

If there is a small quibble, I could have done without hearing the whole of ‘She Loves You (Yeah Yeah Yeah)’. And ‘Anarchy in the UK’ would have been better as a reference than as a track played all the way through but other audience members may have had different preferences.

An enjoyable hour of poetry and nostalgia.

Another show on 22nd July.

Brian Kirman

MEET THE EXPERTS - LUNCHTIME TALKS - Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

Meet the Experts Talks from Buxton Museum and Art Gallery returned to the Fringe today with their series of free lunchtime talks. Today's subject was the Derbyshire Treasures and the Parwich Hoard by Meghan King, Finds Liaison Officer. 

Meghan was a very engaging and entertaining presenter; she had no trouble at all in capturing and holding the attention of the audience in the packed church hall. Clearly Meghan is a very experienced and knowledgeable professional and her love and passion for her subject and chosen career shone through.  

Her presentation was structured and pitched just right so that both the knowledgeable and novice members of the audience were engaged. Meghan took us on a tour of types of treasure found from various ages from prehistoric times to the mid 1800s, as well as explaining what actually constitutes a "hoard" or "treasure" according to the Treasure Act. All of which was delivered in a fascinating and amusing way, with Meghan throwing in humorous asides including her favourite and most unusual find - a flaccid phallus apparently!  

The slides incorporated photos of objects found across Derbyshire including the coins from the rebel Emperor Carausius, who, to the delight of the audience, was described by Meghan as "the original Brexiteer, before being stabbed in the back by his financial advisor" to the Parwich Hoard. This has recently been acquired by Buxton Museum and will be on its way back to Derbyshire soon.

The question and answer session after the talk was extremely lively with the audience clearly not wanting the session to end. 

This series of talks has been disrupted as the Museum has had to close for structural surveys to be undertaken.  I for one am extremely glad that the talks were able to find a replacement venue. Hopefully the museum will be able to reopen soon. In the meantime don't miss Thursday's talk on Neolithic Lifeways in Derbyshire: New evidence from Fox Hole Cave and Carsington Pasture Cave or Friday's on Restoring the Medieval Chapel Window at Haddon Hall. 

Carole Garner


What do Galen, gallstones and Scottish witch trials have in common? This and the answer to many other questions you never realised you had, is revealed during this rapid jaunt through the history of medical advancements.

Styled in the form of a medical lecture, Sarah Gordon leads the audience on a madcap journey. Frequent costume changes give life to the characters we are introduced to. Expect audience participation, some role play and laughs galore.

Amid the hilarity though there are some sobering facts that stayed with me and have given me pause for thought.

This show is the perfect format for the Fringe: only an hour long, but crammed to the gills with laughter and historical fact. Sarah Gordon brings the perfect balance to the role. Don't you dare misbehave!! The show's writer, Anna Girolami, (aka. Neville!) brings further comedic value to the action.

I would really recommend catching this enjoyable show, but if you want a ticket you'll have to move fast. They are selling fast!!

April Irwin


Monday 10th July at the Green Man Gallery, and members of Buxton Spoken Words poetry group were gathered on the stage.

I struck lucky with all three poetic subjects: Politics, Nature and Music. The poets involved read at least one poem in the section(s) they were involved with, and I have chosen to highlight one of their contributions to each section.

The first part, Workers of the World, found Don Dolby talking about The Chainmakers of Cradley Heath in 1910 where women striked against low pay and working conditions becoming the first workers to secure a minimun wage and gaining worldwide exposure. Maggie Pollard offered Green Wilding on the witch Rhiannon, rider of a white horse in Welsh mythology, the myth perpetuated by the Fleetwood Mac song. Karl Largan's So What’s This Job Like Then gave a very humorous and perceptive account of early days in a new job - could basically be interpreted as ‘don’t let the bastards grind you down!’ Jon Davey's Sample Man was an insightful and vivid account of the operation of a steelworks while Anne Shimwell's For Evil to Flourish explored how silence and inaction may lead to a March to the Right. Sarah Raybould's The Medical Student shared trials and tribulations in the NHS.

The second section was The Spirit of Nature with Don Dolby and Maggie Pollard offering Woodman and Sprite, a paeon to the woodlands. Sprites do not grow old. Can we communicate with a sprite? It could be dangerous for both parties. Bellieve in me, I am from Glossop! A story to file with Syd Barrett’s ‘Gnome’! Maggie Pollard's Hedgerow Heaven considered rural opportunities after retirement; continuous 'hedgerowheavening' keeps mortality at bay. Jon Davey's Geese Over Monks Dale described a fleeting encounter: the skein passes over the valley and is gone to roost. Sarah Raybould's Drystone Walls explored these veins across the moorland with rural history etched into every stone. We also heard Alan Budge's The Blue World on the moon and space and Annie Shimwell's What They Knew: Poseidon, Pan and Dionysius, of gods and men.

Rock 'n' Roll was the final section. Don Dolby's An August Night Remembered focused on Elvis with a realistic appraisal of the highs (the Sun Studio days), and the lows (Las Vegas excess). Jimi Hendrix, I Never Saw Him presented a conversation with a cloud, stuck irretrievably in a rock ‘n’ roll time warp with Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and Little Richard. Karl Largan's Scarborough featured Dame Edith Sitwell, Charles Laughton, a captain, a donkey, the gulls, waitresses in the rain and dinosaur prints in the sand. We also had Anne Shimwell's Still Darkness: Bill Haley’s impact, and idealism unrealised, and Alan Budge's The Wild Side: expections and trepidation in the the presence of Lou Reed, plus Generation, an insightful tribute to The Who.

In all this was a hugely enjoyable evening, and the standard of poetry and ‘wordsmithery’ on display was most impressive. Don’t forget Alan Budge’s ‘Rough and Rowdy Days’ (based on his excellent book) on Wednesday 22nd July, and the regular Spoken Words session every second Monday in the month, Green Man Gallery again.

David McPhie

THIS IS NOT THERAPY - Tina Sederholm

When Tina Sederholm was growing up she had a dream, an ambition in life. This dream was not to be a performance poet. I am glad her dreams changed.

An early afternoon on a Monday, is a hard gig, but Tina Sederholm had the audience engaged with her show from the start. Her manner was gentle and friendly, and everything was delivered with warmth and a sense that we were important to her.

Her poetry was carefully blended with her spoken word and the whole piece flowed with ease and style. She moved around the stage in a way that was as relaxed and natural as her spoken words. Her words were thoughtful and gentle but made you reflect.

The audience were taken on journey of her self-realisation of what the meaning of life and living could be. So much resonated in what she said… the lists, the not feeling good enough, the Greek Chorus of self-doubt and the importance of being kind. It may not seem a groundbreaking thing, but being kind and being aware of what is around us are important take-aways from this show.

I thought it was a beautifully woven exploration of what it feels to be human and how we can come to a peace with the big questions. Also, Indiana Jones and Douglas Adams have parts to play in this exploration, so what’s not to love! This is not therapy this is a warm and joyful experience with wide appeal.

Jayne Fanthorpe Walker

AND THE BEAT GOES ON - The Glummer Twins

Fringe regulars David Harmer and Ray Globe return as the Glummer Twins with four performances at the Old Clubhouse.

They follow a tradition of male double acts where each plays off the other, and the theme of this show is to review each decade of their 70 years and point out the cultural references of the time. This resonated with an older audience able to recognise the songs, products and styles of the times. For example “the Weekend Starts Here” (Ready Steady Go – if you need to be told then you weren’t there), Kathy McGowan, Mods, Rockers, Chicken in a Basket. There was mention of being banned from the Tiffany’s night club in Rotherham for... having long hair. Rings a bell.

The strength of the show is the wit of the rhymes in their verse. Notably, a poem about the sixties which used lyrics from Beatles songs to tell the story of the decade. Two more: ‘Turning Sixty and Taking it Badly’, and “Age is Just a Number” have the rhythm and style of John Cooper-Clarke.

The linking dialogue was read from a script which was a little stilted as a result and would benefit from being more natural – but when you’re 70 its hard to remember the lines!

More performances 10th, 11th and 14th at the Old Clubhouse.

Brian Kirman


Sarah Gordon adopts the persona of Anna Seward, an English romantic poet called, as we were told, ‘The Swan of Lichfield’ and could recite the works of Milton by the time she was three. A feminist who was highly educated and lived independently with no need or desire for marriage. She moved and corresponded with a wide circle of fellow writers including Walter Scott and Samuel Johnson. She pursued interests in botany and was involved with the Lunar Society.

Anna is a regular visitor to Buxton, coming to take the waters for her health. As Anna, Sarah leads us on a short perambulation around the Crescent, Pavilion Gardens and up onto the slopes. We see Georgian Buxton through her eyes; when the Grove Hotel was a major coaching inn, that there was open countryside instead of the Quadrant buildings and The Slopes were St Anne’s Cliff. We learn a little of how she spends her days and of society – apparently coffee houses are no longer de rigueur! The tour uses locations well and adapts to more modern layouts through Anna taking her poppy-derived medication which leads us down a fantasy, futuristic path, where there is a dome on top of the Duke’s stables and an Opera House.

There is much light humour in her stories; little bits of gossip that she passes on and also her interaction with people we pass in the street. Sarah remains effortlessly in character and greets people robustly. One passer-by, somewhat surprised at being spoken to so confidently by a dashing figure in blue compared her to Hyacinth Bucket – and (in a very positive way) that was the image that stuck with me!

Sarah’s performance and physicality was a delight. She was always in character and consistently reminds us through word and movement of Anna’s rheumatism; a device which also means the pace and structure of the walk is not demanding. There are some readings of Anna Seward’s poems, as you might expect and these were nicely done.

This is Anna’s last visit to Buxton – there is a hint she will die soon, and so it came to be. Happily, there are two more outings of the tour this Fringe – and it is a most pleasant way to spend an hour.

Maria Carnegie


Hundreds of years after her short life ended Mary remains a compelling figure. Her life was packed with tragedy, intrigue and romance – facts far more dramatic than fiction.

We joined Mary (the hugely impressive Jane Collier) at Fotheringhay Castle on the eve of her execution in 1587 and, as her long night passes, she narrates her life story. Jane is an expert in her subject. She inhabits Mary completely and recounts her story in incredible detail with empathy, intelligence, touches of wry humour and all vulnerabilities laid bare. Jane exposes how misrepresented Mary was and how cruelly treated. There is certainly nothing new about “fake news”.

The performance is spellbinding and there is great attention to detail. Mary is regal, poised and beautifully dressed. Her lady-in-waiting, Jane Kennedy, remains silently on stage throughout, sewing the last garments for her Queen.

Mary has connections to Buxton, with visits to the town during her long captivity to ‘take the waters’. It is so clever of Buxton Crescent Heritage Experience to have staged this performance close to where these actual events happened by using the depths of The Crescent Hotel as the venue. And what a venue! The small cellar room could have been Mary’s ‘condemned cell’ – small, softly lit and deeply atmospheric, the surroundings were perfect for this very intimate production.

The performance lasted for 90 minutes and then the very appreciative audience had a chance to ask questions.

I found this original production deeply absorbing, it was educational as well as entertaining and underlined how Mary’s life still resonates with us today. I’d urge anyone to get a ticket. An interest in history is probably wise, but even without, I’m sure you’ll agree that Jane Collier is outstanding!

Janet Payne


Somewhat ironically, #StandUpPoet Greg Byron was finding it difficult to stand up at his opening Fringe gig at the Green Man, having been struck down by the worst pain he has ever had, sciatica. As he said, it “puts a new spin on having the nerve to be here…” Thankfully Byron is a pro and a trouper having performed in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan as well as hosting his #StandUpPoet podcast, and he rallied brilliantly, entertaining a small crowd with his ready wit and thought-provoking poetry.

As a performer of a certain age - he had childhood memories from the 1970s - he certainly struck a chord with many of us as he read poems offering advice to his 16-year-old self and presented some moving reflections on memory and the “layby effect” that can leave us “stranded in the present tense, grasping for sense”, our college years “unravelling like a scarf” and even a loving relationship dissipating into a “vapour trail”.

The evening was far from downbeat however with Byron frequently coming out with brilliant one-liners eg “I found out I’m colour blind - that came out of the purple” and sharing his excellent “two-word horror shows” such as “eye contact”, “team building”, “they’re here!” and disturbingly (and surely only on a bad day), “Fringe Festival”.

We also got to hear his accomplished 55-word stories performed against a rich soundtrack conjuring up everything from a heady Saturday night at a coastal town to a busy washing machine. These sound effects added a welcome extra dimension to his act. It would be interesting to see him introducing more of these.

Byron’s wit and curiosity about life shone through and led to some interesting discussions amongst the audience afterwards. We left moved, amused and educated. As your trusty reviewer, I did have to check out one of his assertions - that the distance between one’s wrist and elbow equals the length of one’s foot. Correct! Apparently it is all to do with the Fibonacci sequence. It’s good to know that for all our human frailties, we are in some ways pretty perfect!

Stephanie Billen