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Roger McGough - That Awkward Age

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Liverpool's own poet laureate, Roger McGough, made a very welcome return to the Liverpool Playhouse to promote his latest collection, That Awkward Age Roger walked out on stage, casually dressed in dark jacket, black trousers, white shirt and white trainers.

His shoulder length white hair and trade mark round glasses made him seem ageless, though, of course, we all know that this famous man of the 60s Mersey Poets pack has more years behind him than to come.

As he said himself, every age is an 'awkward age', and his latest poems reflect this. He entertained a full house with poems from his life, recounting his days in Litherland, Liverpool and London in 'To My Old Addresses', and a boyhood trip to the local cinema with his dad, where he felt immersed in the action on screen in 'Beau Geste' and shook sand from his shoes in the backyard when he got home.

In 'To Bedtime Stories' he indulged in irony writing that his wife would threaten the kids to sleep or she would send him up to read his poems. 'We could hear the groaning as they burrowed beneath the duvets and scream 'Oh no not another night of magical word juggling at the hands of a consummate craftsman'. Then silence.'”

McGough's poems are extremely accessible and often have a poignant twist. They showcase his natural scouse wit and ability to play cleverly with words and meanings. He is a down-to-earth poet who speaks of everyday life in a way that has the audience emoting 'ah' at the end, in recognition of universal truths.

Some of his reminiscences were funny and had the audience laughing out loud, others were touching. In 'A Fine Romance' he apologises in advance to his wife for becoming senile, and the 'slow, macabre dance I may one day lead you into'. McGough is self deprecating, offering up his poems in an easy manner. Some seem like bits of whimsy, but others show a subtle adroitness, that often catches you unaware.

He interspersed his poems with anecdotes from his life, including the hand-me-downs of Paul McCartney's suits via his brother Mike McCartney, immortalised in yet another poem 'To Maccas Trousers'.

For five decades he has been our own scouse poet, though he actually performs all over the world. He is still as popular as he was in the Lily the Pink era and from the response at the Playhouse his worth has not diminished.

-Jeanette Smith


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