Side by Side

road show
Elsewhere on this website I have expressed the view that poetry comes in many forms; a passage from a novel or a magazine, the lyrics of a song, can be poetry. And there is no better example of this than the work of Stephen Sondheim.

Last week I went to see Road Show at the Menier Chocolate Factory which is staging the European premiere of the show, a much changed version of Bounce, originally premiered in the states in 1993. It is perhaps simpler, less subtle, more direct than some of Sondheim’s other shows, but the feeling for words, for meter, for the spoken or sung phrase is still magically there. I always come out of a Sondheim show wanting to write, but never do because the minute I start, it is his rhythms, his voice that refuses to leave my head. Which is interesting because poetry is meant to be read out loud, even if you’re reading it to yourself. You can’t possibly get the full meaning of a poem without reciting it; without putting in the stresses, the rhythms, the vocal punctuation the poet has put into his work. That’s how poetry started thousands of years ago, much of it was never written down, it was performed, on the streets, in cafes and courts, in poetry competitions. Try it for yourself, record yourself and listen to the poem in your own words. It’s great fun, and quite addictive. Road Show is on until September 15 - go and see it. Quite apart from anything else a visit to the Menier Chocolate Factory is a magical experience in itself!

Mrs. Mooney has a pie shop!
Does her business but I notice something weird.
Lately all her neighbors' cats have disappeared!
Have to hand it to her --
Wot I calls, "enterprise"!
Poppin' pussies into pies!
Wouldn't do in my shop!