Spoken word poet Scroobius Pip was such a popular option last night that I had no choice but to watch most of yesterday's late night gig from outside the venue where he was performing. Fortunately, the energy of his spellbinding performance easily carried beyond the confines of the Poetry Tent to entertain the large crowd standing in the open air.
David Meads - whose stage name is the title of an Edward Lear poem - recited for an hour on topics including his own development as a poet ("1000 Words"), suicide ("Angles") and the myriad failings of mankind ("Letter from God"). Some of the material is very dark, but the mood of the gig stayed buoyant thanks to Meads's likeable onstage persona. He has a knack of switching between intense recitation and chatty banter that made sure that last night's huge audience stayed with him throughout, whether laughing with him, or hanging on every beautifully crafted line of verse.
Just as not all theatre is poetic, poetry is not necessarily theatrical. Last night, however, in the hands of Scroobius Pip, it most certainly was.