Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Edinburgh Festival and John Hegley

Some people may be wondering at the paucity of references to this year’s Edinburgh Festival and Fringe on this blog, given that I live in Edinburgh. Well, the reason is that I’ve hardly seen anything. Last year, I saw a number of events and wrote about them. This year, my wife was in a play almost every night for three weeks (last year, her play was over only a fortnight), and going out would have meant getting babysitters. During the day, I’m too tied up with work etc to go festivaling. Last year there were several events I really wanted to go to, but this year less appealed to me, and paying around £10 for a ticket to go to something I wasn’t over-enthused by seemed pointless.

I went to Luke Wright’s Poetry Party, which was fun, and of course I went to The Holy Terror, which was very good, although I’m bound to say that.

However, yesterday, my wife and I managed to see John Hegley. He was great entertainment – warm and sharp wit, good interaction with the audience, perfect comic timing, imaginative improvisation, and a love of the absurd that drives his humorous verse. It strikes me that the same material, without his personality and performance, wouldn’t work nearly as well. It's all part of the same package. If he’s performing near you, don’t miss it.


Ben Wilkinson said...

I saw Hegley when I was reviewing Latitude this year, and i imagine it was a similar set to the one you saw, Rob. He was absolutely brilliant, the tent was packed, and his performing on the Thursday was probably the main reason that so many people came back to the Poetry Arena over the course of the weekend.

If you fancy a read, there's a bit of a review of him in my round-up of Thursday's events:


Matt Merritt said...

I've seen him a few times and he's always good, but I agree entirely with you, Rob. The poems would only work with that particular persona. I had a CD by a performance poet to review for the latest Sphinx, but although he'd got a very Hegley-ish delivery, it didn't really suit his material.
I once had to interview Hegley on the phone for the paper I was working for, and he was extremely funny then too.