Luke Wright live in his living room ... but not in front of the children!
Every night since the lockdown leading performance poet Luke Wright has been appearing on Twitter in his living room at 8pm – and last night was his 13th show. And what a treat for those confined to the house it was.
After entering ‘on stage’ from what appeared to be his kitchen, he confided that his two children were upstairs, and under strict instructions not to emerge during the performance: “If they appear, they’ll steal the show.”
It’s a good job they didn’t. It may have been 8pm, but the language at times was certainly after the watershed. Luke began with what he described as the third part of his Essex Lion trilogy, which is basically about those desperate to believe in something, no matter how outlandish it is. I saw the first part way back at the Edinburgh Fringe, in 2013, and ever since I have been struck by how politically prescient it was.
It’s a poem that also demands copious use of the F word. The third part has the bloke who ‘saw’ the Essex Lion bothered by increasingly bizarre sightings of other fabulous beasts around the country, and particularly in Essex, that are reported to him: “I don’t care if you’ve seen several / snow leopards in Hatfield Peverel” (what a wonderful rhyme), adding: “What I saw was personal.”
Luke, explaining that he was broadcasting from his home in Bungay, Suffolk, and occasionally taking sips of Prosecco, has a natural, chatty manner in front of the screen. His next poem, based on an artwork, was about men at urinals who remain unmoved and concentrating on what they are doing as a corpse spills out of a nearby cubicle. He confided that the poet Clare Pollard had told him: “This is horrible. No one needs to hear it.” It sounded all right to me. But then maybe I enjoy that kind of thing.
He turned to a more “jaunty” poem, ‘Moonstruck for my missus’, about his wife, “when she was my wife”, followed by a “sad, alone in the house” kind of poem, called ‘My sadness’. There was a poem about talking about motor-racing with his dad, which was about much more than that. He concluded with a new poem about the virus, which is also the latest part of his Essex Lion series, that had me roaring with laughter.
According to some handily available online figures, Luke started with a live audience of around 40 and concluded with around 60. Afterwards he mentioned his “virtual cap”, seeking small donations for what was a very enjoyable and engaging performance. When you think of some of the rubbish on mainstream TV … Luke should be on terrestrial. As it is, you can catch him each evening on Twitter at 8pm. Be there. You won’t be disappointed.