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Review: Mouthy Poets Present Say Sum Thin 8 Scratch Show with Open Mic

Written, organised and performed by Nottingham’s very own Mouthy Poets, Say Sum Thin 8 promised to challenge perceptions of poetry and showcase the finest talent of spoken word.

Having seen the Mouthy Poets in action through my placement with their talented founder and director, Deborah Stevenson, I was already well aware of their creative capacity and passion for spoken word. When I sat down in the crowded theatre of Djanogly City Academy my perceptions of poetry were firmly held in the positive and I knew I was in for some serious talent. However what I hadn’t had a chance to experience through sitting in on their rehearsals was the energy that developed between the performers and the audience during a live show, and this is what made the event surpass my expectations.

Say Sum Thin 8 attracted a diverse audience that reflected how accessible the Mouthy Poets aim to be. The hosts were quirky, awkward and excitable in all the right ways, not taking themselves too seriously as they stirred up the crowd. There was a distinctive presence of a strong fan base which made the show feel a bit like a family affair, with everyone offering supportive clicks and appreciative mmm’s throughout the performances. Spurred on by this infectious enthusiasm, the girl next to me pulled out her own poems and spontaneously signed up for an open mic slot in the second half – which was by far a personal highlight of the show for me.

The poems themselves were all incredibly powerful and distinctive, both in their form and range of emotion. While the show was advertised with a food theme many of the poets interpreted this to unusual lengths, which resulted in a wide variety of topics from the political to the personal and everything in-between. Whilst some performances were light-hearted, quirky and down-right hilarious, others reflected on more sombre issues like heartbreak and self-doubt. I was stunned by the performer’s brutal honesty and intensity.

And of course I cannot forget to mention the most humbling part of the show, where poet Dave Allen made a guest appearance as part of his charity poetry cycle tour, Good to Talk. Dave announced he’s cycling over 700 miles over 10 days and performing poetry in 10 cities to raise money for mental health counselling charities, including Harmless in Nottingham. Not only was his cause extremely admirable, his ranty poems and amusing haikus appealed to every taste.


My only regret was not buying a ticket for the second show, featuring more Mouthy poems and headline act Jon Sands. 

I'm a second year English Language and Literature student at the University of Nottingham who is worryingly obsessed with organising and could spend an entire day in Boots comparing makeup and beauty products. Aside from this... I love a good night out, green tea, dogs, artsy fartsy films, cooking and being overly competitive in board games.
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