The Townhouse, Petersfield
Paul Lyalls’ performance at Write Angle’s December gig held the audience from start to finish with ‘endless’ laughter. It was truly a Christmas special.
He’s a great poet but also a stand-up comic and confident performer. His long lanky body and mobile face capture the audience. He works in schools but his poetry is geared to the child in each of us – if only we’d had a Paul Lyalls in our schooldays!
In Poetic Lonely Hearts Act, the Poet “seeks audience….You must like rhyme but not all the time.” In Ask the Audience….Or Listen to Your Heart, he tells how, as a loving man, his first reaction to his partner’s “What are you thinking” is “What should I be thinking?” but he answers “I want to look into your eyes forever” when he’s really thinking that “the next time we go to Ikea, I want to get into one of the wardrobes and when someone opens it, leap out and ask what country are we in?”
His Shakespeare parody, Let Me Compare Thee, talks of “Reality, Reality, wherefore art thou?” Only in the Movies listed all those impossible situations such as “You’ll easily survive any battle…..unless you make the fatal mistake of showing somebody a picture of your sweetheart who’s waiting for you.” He ended his performance with The Label Prayer, which dealt with the two core values of Christmas, “religion and shopping”. Unsurprisingly, the open mikers featured Christmas strongly. Jilly Funnell provided two covers, Shakin Stevens’ Merry Christmas Everyone and Martin and Blane’s Have Yourself a Merry Christmas, followed by a reprise of her own naughty Principle Boy – “Make sure you all check out his tights before your wedding day.” Richard Hawtree provided another view of Christmas with Wrappings – “A ruse you trust to make the wise men late in setting out on their epiphany.”
Leah contributed four seasonal poems, finishing with Santa Has a Problem, when Mrs Santa “wants me healthy” puts him on a diet “but if I’m not a jolly fat man, kids won’t know I’m Father Christmas”.
Dick Senior, more serious, in Cake, told the story of a suspicious husband following his unfaithful wife, “Like white knuckles at his throat, the furies of self-pity and rage, like rats writhing in a bag of his skin”. “That night, they ate the cannabis cake”, which was followed by an orgy of destruction when he took a hammer to his home and his car. Evacuee told the story of the youngster Dick’s grandparents took in “from Tottenham who….became a village boy” but who Dick knew as Uncle Stan.
Your reviewer lightened the mood with Charlie the Spider, who “lives in Jake’s black car” and whose social life was “When we park at Tesco….I meet my friends in other cars”. Piers Husband read from his Christmas Book. First, Santa Meets Satan and, then, Satan, “the horned devil fell through the air in a million particles. Each particle entered the body of a spider….” Brian read a humorous Thurber short story The Night the Bed Fell, chronicling a chapter of accidents culminating with the bed falling on father.
Although the number of poets and musicians were few, the quality of their work made up for it. It was a memorable evening and contributed well to the Christmas season! The Raffle was sponsored by The Half Moon at Sheet.