Luke Wright: Essex Lion (4 stars)

This article is from 2013

Luke Wright: Essex Lion

credit: Steve Ullathorne

Showcasing the poet's electric delivery and carefully sculpted craft

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

  • 4 stars

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