Tuesday, 23 July 2019

PERFORMANCE POETRY REVIEW: Simon Widdop: Stained - The Met Theatre, Bury.

“Stained” is a spoken word one-man show by Simon Widdop – he wrote the production as well as playing the only character. Widdop is from Ossett in West Yorkshire and describes himself as a “punk poet” – a term I wasn’t familiar with. He further expands on this by saying he “performs poetry that blends a healthy mixture of Northern humour with a lashing of punk attitude and a dash of kitchen sink realism”. With this description, who wouldn’t be intrigued by this show.

Widdop arrived on stage looking and acting very anxious and equally angry. He had a half empty bottle of water in hand and was dressed in jeans and a casual shirt – sleeves rolled up to display his tattoos. He introduced himself as Johnny Deighton, a tattoo artist with his own studio – Low Voltage. He had a t-shirt with the name of the studio across the back.

Deighton’s anxiety is caused by a rival tattoo parlour down the road – the owner being the cause of his stress. He has been bad-mouthing Deighton and questioning his practices and in particular the hygiene of his studio – something that he is very principled about and is adamant he operates to the very highest standards.

This one-man show portrays the history of Deighton from when he first started out as a tattoo artist and how he became fascinated by body art. The set-up is one of Deighton being interviewed for some kind of TV show and he often returned to this pretence – asking to be able to replay an answer again but phrase in a slightly different way. It is an angle in the show that works very well. His answers were generally in the form of poetry as you might expect but this doesn’t cover Widdop’s style – he talked with an incredible amount of passion and extravagance that kept my attention throughout.

Widdop is without a doubt a very talented poet and writer. The way he delivered this one-man show was very impressive, keeping the attention of the audience throughout – something which is no mean feat over the course of a one hour show. Widdop can be very proud of this show and I expect he will gain many more accolades as he continues to perform.

Reviewer - John Fish
on - 20/7/19