By Isabella Fraser
Loud Poets have built up a strong following since bursting onto the fringe scene three years ago and have maintained this success as their line-up changes and grows. Performing to packed houses, the show is a firm favourite on the Fringe. The poetry however is key: this show’s strength lies in the power of the spoken word and it is at its best when the words are simply allowed to be heard. This year the poets demonstrate how they have grown from the raw energy of three years ago by taking a risk with a slick mix of poetry, video and live music.
Clever tongue-in-cheek Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and ads warning about selling the power of poetry are new, witty and entertaining, playing on the corporate ad selling that encourages buy-in of the latest buzz product. However, these are just a touch too long in both the explanation and execution: the Loud Poet audience is bright and picks up on the references quickly so a trimming of these sections would strengthen the gag.
The music that flows underneath, around and through the majority of the poetry enhances it, but also at times overwhelms it. The emotional impact it brings is lovely, tempering what can be a frenetic or suitably loud commentary with the underlying feeling that the words stem from. What this can do, however, is occasionally detract from the content of the poetry, a difficult challenge when also competing with the constant stream of imagery running in the background during the show.
It feels like the tricky second album: what bodes well, however, is the clear indication that there is much more these poets can show us about the power of poetry. The Loud Poets have an innovative concept with the mix of imagery, music and spoken word; all that is needed is some fine-tuning to bring to boot the potential that is just simmering underneath.
Loud Poets runs @ 21:00 @ the Scottish Storytelling Centre until 28/08/17 (not 21). Running time I hour.