“The thing about poets is that they are quite fragile souls. Pretty much anyone who gets up is going to have something to plug,” says host Fay Roberts – up from Cambridgeshire to promote her show The Selkie and provide a showcase for the ‘other voices’ of this show’s title. She runs through some sound effects with the audience, including an ‘intellectual hum’ and a ‘sigh of wonder’, all the while wearing a bright red top hat and looking like a cross between Rosie Garland and Regina Spektor.
To begin she reads some stories from her solo show; beautiful, romantic tales of Baba Yaga, selkies, and dark curses, told in a way reminiscent of Angela Carter. A feeling of timelessness surrounds her, as if the show you’re watching could be taking place a hundred years in the past or future.
The first guest is Sez Thomasin promoting their show This Is Awkward. Sez performs a piece about being a young, genderconforming kid and seeing a queer girl on a train slowly taking off her pride stickers. It’s a powerful piece about the impact small moments can have on your life, and reminds the audience of the responsibility of being out and proud.
“She’s telling the world though not quite out loud… [she’s] who I would like to be someday,” they enthuse. “I don’t want her to lose her pride, but it seems like in every mile she’s leaving it behind.”
Other acts on the night, including Tina Sederholm and Katie Ailes, ensured that the hour was an amusing and comfortable one. There was even an open mic slot.
It’s worth checking the bill for each night, in case you spot some local favourites like AR Crow, overall this is a solid and well-curated show.
Words: Ana Hine
Other Voices Spoken Word Cabaret
Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG
Aug 12-14, 16-21, 23-26, 15.10, FREE