Bang Said The Gun strangely, yet successfully bills itself as a ‘poetry night for people who don’t like poetry’, and after a series of sell out shows at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre, it’s going on the road giving the people of Britain outside of the capital, a chance to witness its wonder. As the brain child of two of London’s most vibrant off the wall poets, Dan Cockrill and Martin Galton, the night began as a humble spoken word club in a back street Soho pub. After quickly gaining momentum amongst the capital’s lyrical proponents, the night quickly moved to a bigger venue that enabled the pair to showcase some of their favourite acts from across the country in their signature ‘everyone get involved’ style.
It’s part open mic night, part cabaret and part comedy, and despite being circus-esque, is often genuinely touching at times. Homemade maracas handed out to the audience quickly establish this is no ordinary poetry slam, but an anarchic and hilarious show that explodes what you thought poetry had to be. It’s simultaneously side splitting and endearing, with each performer allotted 20 minutes or so to read a small selection of their latest and best works, which have ranged from insights in to upbringings in a racially tense 1960’S West London, to the thought processes of a dog when rolling in mud or the joys of a cup of tea and Bill Bailey – all stitched together by a comedic compère who brings with them an arsenal of audience participative segments that keep the crowd on its toes and laughing along.
Some of the most established poets from the UK have graced the stage of Bang Said The Gun, including Kate Tempest, Hollie McNish, Roger McGough CBE (The presenter BBC Radio 4’s Poetry Please), and poet laureate alum Sir Andrew Motion. The monthly sell out shows in London, along with; appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe, a series of short films on Channel 4, guest shows in New York and a published anthology entitled ‘Mud Wrestling with Words’, have helped quickly establish this collective which also includes Candid Magazine’s favourite off beat comedian and poet Rob Auton, and the ever-charming poet Laurie Bolger.
The no doubt raucous tour, which begins this March, will see what The Times described as ‘The best poetry night in the UK’ visit thirteen locations around the country, bringing its signature absurdity to the people. Each show will feature a line up of special guests including Jordan Stephens (one half of the musical duo Rizzle Kicks), Deanna Rodger (the youngest ever UK Poetry Slam Champion) and Salena Godden (the BBC television and radio regular). The tour is stopping in cities including Leeds, Durham and Brighton, whilst also continuing its monthly London residency at the Bloomsbury Theatre. Don’t miss this chance to see the UK’s best spoken word as everyone gears themselves up for Edinburgh 2o17, in a show that proves poetry is fun.
Bang Said The Gun is on tour from Match 12 – July 28 2017. For their full UK tour dates and tickets, see Bang Said The Gun.
Words by Toby Mellors