Beccy Owen & Hannah Silva Review

Beccy Owen resized for website

One thing that really annoys me is when people say ‘I don’t like poetry’. It’s kind of like saying ‘I don’t like music’ or ‘I don’t like food’, how can you generalise something that is so vast and varied? Tonight at Live Theatre demonstrated just that: you can have three poets do sets and not one of them sounded the same – in presentation or subject matter.

Kicking off the event, local spoken word artist Ann Porro read poems about common New Year’s resolutions. I found myself smiling, nodding at the sentiments expressed. I thought to myself ‘Ah, a nice bit of realism’ and then Ann launched into her final poem about her dog cheating on her. From the real to the surreal in the turn of a page! No, seriously though, it was a great way to start the evening.

Then came Beccy Owen. Beccy is known for her music (more about that later) and this was her first public outing as a poet, I genuinely hope it won’t be her last. Her use of language is intricate and intelligent and she creates such a great bond with the audience.

Next came Hannah Silva, the poet that The Times have called “one of the most ambitious and entertaining poets in the country.”  Imagine trying to live up to that but live up to it, she did. Maybe I’m a philistine but I have never seen anyone present spoken word the way Hannah did this evening. Her poems are a performance but the substance behind the presentation is also really thought-provoking.

Following a brief interval, we were treated to songs from Beccy’s latest album IMAGO. It was so good, I’ve already bought it since switching on my laptop. Beccy has a very unique talent: between songs, she chats to the audience as it’s just you and her in the room and during her songs, she manages to make eye contact with pretty much everyone. I find it so difficult to believe that this honest, funny woman has a voice like that. Before leaving to go to tonight’s event, I’d been watching the Brit Award nominations and I can honestly say, you can keep your Ellie Goulding and Pixie Lott – I’d rather listen to Beccy Owen.

Think you don’t like poetry? Think again.

Victoria Watson
Live Theatre’s January Blogger


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