Write to Speak Presents Kate Fox News - Wednesday 12th January 2011
By Michelle Dee
The final Write to Speak of the current run saw writer/poet Kate Fox performing her Edinburgh Fringe Show Kate Fox News at the Hull Truck Studio Theatre. Tonight was ladies night so before Kate took to the stage the healthy Wednesday night crowd were given another chance to hear from the female members of the workshop poets.
Opening with the wonderfully talented Pam Scobie, we are quickly drawn into the mind of a serial killer stalking fat flesh at the fairground: a dark visceral tale with a wicked twist. Pam may have been looking over my shoulder as I wrote the last Write to Speak review; she has picked up on my thoughts about different voices and characters.
In Burns Night Hangover she channels a long suffering vengeful wife. It's a refreshing, fun piece which serves as a rallying call for all those women forced to stay at home, while the men folk hit the bars to paint the town tartan.
Pam was followed by the 'Pearl Poetess', Michaela Bamber. Her take on the Harold Shipman murders was written in edgy and threatening tones. The line about sewing up dead lips put me in mind of the childrens' horror fantasy Coraline.
It's the pastoral poem that followed, which prompted me to give Michaela the pearl moniker. In direct contrast Girls Night Out delivers the line 'half cut and half bimbo', and if I needed anymore persuasion Michaela has managed to slip a n'er do well, into her work. Admirable.
In the last three months or so Catherine Scott has stage presence has shifted from a slightly nervy persona to that of a confident performance poet. This is Hull, defines Hullness perfectly; the good, the bad and the ugly are laid out for all to see.
The good folk at ARC should perhaps take note of this poem while they spend fifty thousand of lottery money on finding out what makes Hull, Hull. Sweary Mary is simply crafted, rhyming for fun and delightfully effective. Catherine delivered a performance filled with vim and vigour and a very immediate, accessible turn of phrase.
Kerry Jo Pulford closed the first half of the night \u2013 a night laden with feminine energy - as compere Joe Hakim describes it. Kerry is a very different performer and an intriguing writer.
She begins by describing her current situation, her daily struggles then flows, without introduction, into her first poem. She just says stuff and leaves it hanging in the air, its very real, there's nothing disingenuous or staged about her or her delivery.
HU7 tells of the pitfalls of the postcode lottery and its very real effect on life's opportunities, 'Take me take me, nearer Willerby' she implores. She shares more of her life in a moving poem with smart wordplay about losing a parent.
By the end she has the audience eating out of the palm of her hand. Contradiction and charisma, I note down. I don't think she quite realises just what she's got there. Kerry Jo is a real find and we've been gifted the opportunity to witness this, all because of Write to Speak.
Kate Fox was born into a Bradford home of secrets and lies. Against the background of veiled truths the young girl found her passion for investigative journalism. Now a familiar voice on Radio 4's Saturday Live, she has taken her show Kate Fox News on a countrywide tour.
Let us start with the name first. Kate began life as a Heard, which led to weak-minded jokes in school - she was always Miss. Heard. Her biological father's name was Reynard (more of him later) the more astute among you will have already realised 'renard' is French for fox.
It's a small step to Kate Fox News and the tie in with Murdoch's empire just adds a little spice. She reminds us that she will be fine, just as long as Murdoch doesn't erect a pay-wall around her.
From reading the title and having listened to her on R4 versifying news, I was expecting a heavily news based show; a poetic look at current affairs perhaps. It wasn't, not really although the show did contain newsy references and idents, on the fun visual displays for the quarterly bulletins.
The Thatcher era and the headlines of that torrid 'tory' time into which Kate grew up seem to have made a big impression on her path through life. She finds herself witnessing, the burning of Salman Rushdie's, Satanic Verses, from the window of a Bradford bus as she passes one day. She develops a feeling of affinity with this author who is being hounded by religious leaders. 'Someone who had something to say and others were trying to stop him from saying it', she states.
At sixteen she describes her rebellious self as a 'landmine ticking on the mantelpiece.' She finds herself making the news during a nationwide search for her. The young radical has run away to Blackpool with a gunrunner, I kid you not, the results of which she describes in the short, subtle piece Bullets.
The dangerous passion burns out quickly and after a spell at Loughborough University studying journalism she sets out to make her impact on the world of news. The fledgling reporter's first news story was a sensitive piece on a dead frog (I'm sure that is what she said) As a news reporter covering 'real life' stories for local independent station Metro FM she rather wonderfully says, 'channelling their voice, I found my own.'
During the show Kate tells us about finding out that Peter Sutcliffe (yes that Peter Sutcliffe) once drove lorries for her aunt. Questions over her parentage lead her to search for her real father. The poignant Heirloom that recounts this time is met with a heavy silence in the theatre; none of the customary applause greets this one.
Kate's verse is full of minute details that lift the lid on the headlines of her life-story. Each and every one of our lives is news; we all have a story to tell she reminds us; and it is this, that is the point of the show. It's her news, Kate Fox's News, her story... so far. The joy of being a poet Kate explains is that she can say things she'd never be able to as a journalist.
Kate's Northern voice 'not quite R.P.' sharp wit and warmth, flows through her flat vowel sounds. She uses repetition in her verse to good effect, particularly in the newsy titled And Finally - dramatic pauses artfully placed, well chosen word play, ride along rhythm and nostalgic references.
In snazzy boots she bemoans the number of diminutive women in the world, particularly when they've been her dates' ex-partners. She's married now, funnily enough to one of those 10x10 poets who visited us end of last year.
Kate Fox, blessed with sharp mind, verse laden with irony and dry humour, has a book out to accompany the tour. Kate Fox News, contains some of the pieces from the show and a few more besides and is published by New Writing North . I bought a copy after the show which she kindly signed adding 'keep on news-ing'... Just try and stop me.
Reviews, Arts - Write to Speak presents Kate Fox News at Hull Truck - Wednesday 12th January 2011 By Mark Walmsley
The last Write to Speakevent of the third season was crowned by a brilliant night's entertainment featuring BBC Radio 4's Kate Fox and 4 of Hulls very own up and coming poets, Catherine Scott, Kerry-Joe Pulford, Michaela Bamber and Pam Scobie .
Normally, it could be said that the likes of the very talented Kate Fox who has graced the Hull Truck
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Hull Truck 0 - Luke Wright 30.If this had been the cricketer Luke Wright, you would be forgiven for thinking that the headline was a cricket score result between the Hull Truck cricket team and the solitary England Batsman but on this occasion it was worse news.
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This poetry thing's alright!
Right, me auntie asked me to go to this poetry thing - her mate couldn't go so I sez I wud (only coz she was gunna buy me a beer!).
I woz a bit worried it might be all, 'thee, thou' stuff. Am onny 16 an Eminem is the most famous poet I know!
Anyhow we goes in an it turnz out to be o'right, you know. I woz real surprised. Mike Watts and Joe Hakim did their poems and these woz real good.
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