Luke Wright: Essex Lion (4 stars)

Showcasing the poet's electric delivery and carefully sculpted craft


This article is from 2013.

Luke Wright: Essex Lion

In case you missed last year's silly season scoop, Luke Wright's sweary titular poem recounts the tale of Essex natives losing their shit after spying a lion in a field. (Spoiler alert: was not a lion). Their impotently impassioned refrain, 'We fucking saw a fucking lion,' unearths the universally understood perception of desperately pinning your hopes on something, whether heroes or first kisses or a moggy in disguise, as a way of escaping mundanity.

These yearnings and reminiscence creep through the shadows of the show and Wright – Russell Brand but less grabby; Roald Dahl but rocket fuelled – explores them without wallowing in saccharine. His 'These Boots Weren't Made for Walking', earnesetly picks apart being cool and fashionable – Wright jokes, 'achieving through fiction what I can't in reality.'

After a string of knockout Fringe shows, Wright does not need to prove his credentials, but he does anyway, having earned a regular support slot with performance poetry behemoth John Cooper Clarke. It is easy to see why JCC is a fan: Wright is curiously classless, perfectly placed to dissect the dreams of the British nation. He is just as at home with a posh plumber – 'eats and plays squash / never quaffs it,' – as he is getting his teeth into Nigel Farrage (or 'Farridge', cos it's easier to rhyme) – 'the cream-stuffed cat with verbal squits'. His lexical acrobatics are astounding, often motor-mouthed and breathtakingly honest.

Hardly a one-trick pony, Essex Lion showcases both Wright's electric delivery and a carefully sculpted craft. His flowing ode to growing up in comfortable middle class is Betjeman-esque and piercing, the Sunday evening Lovejoy watching of an inviolable adolescence. Go for the wordsmithery, stay for the painful poignancy.

Assembly George Square, 623 3030, until 26 Aug, 6pm, £10.50–£9.50.

Luke Wright: Essex Lion

Luke Wright returns with romping satirical verses and curiously Dahl-esque spoken word.


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