“Spoken word poetry is the art of performance poetry. I tell people it involves creating poetry that doesn’t just want to sit on paper, that something about it demands it be heard out loud or witnessed in person” (Sarah Kay). I’m All In LIVE is a performance from artist Lauren Kaye, who showcases her spoken word poetry in the context of a play, telling the story of two young lovers.
Kaye states that in her work she “… wanted to leave readers feeling hooked, emotional, sad, happy, hungry and horny.” The relationship between Kaye and her readers or, in this case, the audience is clearly important to her and the emotive nature of her writing exemplifies this connection.
The performance takes place in a recording studio, where Kaye has a lavish set laid out expressing her extroverted lifestyle and grandeur trinkets. We are greeted to Kaye on the phone talking to, presumably, her boyfriend about being overworked. This is an interesting setup and gives the audience a glimpse into the character’s life before she addresses them directly.
This setup, however, with its promising set stage and visually exciting layout, is not returned to in the performance and perhaps becomes unnecessary to the show. Where the focus should (and is for the most part) be on the words – this set ends up detracting from the performance and we question its validity. A more considered approach to the stage would have suited this performance better and allowed the audience to truly focus on Kaye’s words.
That said, this should not take anything away from the raw, fresh and confrontational talent of Lauren Kaye. The strengths of this piece surely lie in the performances of her spoken word poems which are engaging, rhythmic and an absolute joy to experience live. This is the spoken word at its realist and Kaye delivers powerful art that will have you laughing, crying and shaking from its deployment. This work is an example of just how moving spoken word can be and implore anyone to take a moment to read some of Kaye’s incredible art.
The poems are scattered in between a story told by Kaye of two friends, cousins, and their relationship dramas. The story just about holds its own and Kaye is a wonderful storyteller, but it feels this story is put in place to accommodate for the poems and place them within a narrative. I admire Kaye for this premise and believe it could be effective, but at this stage, there is more work to be done for the format to fully succeed. At this stage, Kaye has the potential to create a really interesting and dynamic performance and I look forward to seeing how it progresses, but it it’s current stage it needs a lot of refining. In the meantime, I would recommend Kaye’s poetry to all and an opportunity to see her live is not one to be missed.
Review by James Evans
A live adaptation of Lauren Kaye’s poetry book ‘I’m All In.’ Narrating a love triangle told through her intimate and semi-biopic poems taken from her five-star rated collection. Lyrics and events that emote lust, loathe, love and loss as befittingly categorised in the book. Heavily influenced by 80’s ballads and 90’s slow jams, Lauren pours her heart out depicting the origins behind the manuscript with this intense, heart-wrenching yet comical theatre piece. This one-woman show is a stylised poetic play, full of adult humour and high emotions. Between the page and the stage, the content is nothing short of intrigue and passionate raw honesty.
Wed 15 August at 7:15pm
This production contains strong language.