Reviews

Mab and Anthony first performed That’s Easy for You to Say for the first time at the Exeter Fringe Festival in 2011. Here’s what the reviewer said:

The Rusty Bike is a Victorian period pub on Howell Road, modestly built in a district, not wealthy, a little to the north of Exeter city centre. A spacious structure on the inside, with hard wooden floors and scrubbed table tops, light and airy; alcoves and odd corners; knick-knacks around the walls; the beer garden is a back yard down some steps, the loos are upstairs. A friendly atmosphere, created by intelligent chatter among cultured ( not over-cultivated ) genuine people. The young men and women staffing the place, move about cheerfully, workmanlike and welcoming.

That evening, the pub was hosting two young poets, winners of prestigious awards, who share a challenge to their chosen careers. Both have a difficulty with speaking. Mab Jones as a child, suffered Selective Mutism and Anthony Fairweather has a speech impediment which at times causes quite severe stammering. Finding solace from life’s downsides in writing poetry, the two, independently, took to pouring their grins and grizzles onto paper or computer screen, in verses and rhymes. Later they realised that people won’t buy books of poems unless they’ve heard the authors read them first, so they both set about surmounting their challenges and made themselves into performance poets, as well as published ones.

As must be expected at a venue not accustomed to this sort of live act, a discerning few attended the two backyard performances and were well entertained, even amazed at the vocabulary and verbal felicity this pair provided. After a little light banter between themselves and with the audience, Anthony astounded everyone by slipping seamlessly from involuntary hiatuses and repetitious consonants into a rapid torrent of clearly enunciated lists of things and persons that he castigates for their irksomeness. His shafts of vitriol strike home on matters that certainly resonate with this reviewer and probably with most thinking people in the audience and everywhere else.
Despite Anthony’s clear articulation and ‘upper-crust’ manner, there is no doubting where his barbs are intended to fall. Several TV programmes and fiscal power-houses were pilloried and pelted with well-aimed phrases and derogatory terms and certain celebs were roundly denounced for good reasons. For example, entertainment purporting to enhance civilised culture but which reduces the human spirit almost to a sort of passive enslavement.

Mab focuses on subjects closer to home; people she knows, situations she has experienced. Fond of ‘pomes’ by Pam Ayres (the well known comedy rhymer beloved of millions, on television some years ago) Mab works a rich vein of native Welsh humour into some of her verses. Even her serious pieces have a jaunty quality, suggesting, “This is life – this is how I deal with it.” She has an open smile and friendly personality that’s irresistible, both in conversation with her audience, and when reading her work which she obviously enjoys indulging in.
Behind the Rusty Bike, out in the back yard, under the canopy with a comforting glass, listening to these two talented poets was a lovely way to spend a summer evening. I bought a bargain-priced double CD of Anthony Fairweather’s words & a book of poems, including ten by Mab Jones. More details can be found via:-
info@comedyverse.co.uk and at http://parthianbooks.com/brightyoungthings.info

****

Arthur Duncan

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