Luke Wright, Poet Laureate review at Bar Bados, Edinburgh – ‘fierce, wistful and witty poetry’
Luke Wright has written two cracking, politically-charged verse plays in recent years – What I Learned from Johnny Bevan and Frankie Vah – but this new show sees him return to his roots in performance poetry. And he’s so bloody good at it.
The title of this new hour – Poet Laureate – is both an echo of his debut show 12 years ago and a cheeky tilt at the prestigious position. It’s stuffed with stellar material, delivered, as ever, with galvanising passion.
Part of it is political. Wright wants to show off his ability to analyse and satirise modern culture, so we get a savage attack on Good Morning Britain and a beady-eyed ballad about the fall of Damian McBride – Gordon Brown’s spin doctor.
But Wright deftly weaves in the personal, too. The show’s final poem, currently untitled, is a tear-jerking and remarkably insightful hymn to Britain, and Wright’s relationship with it. Touchingly, he also playfully mocks former Laureate Andrew Motion, then warmly recites Motion’s The Mower.
Fierce, wistful, romantic and witty by turns, this is a sensational hour of poetry. Carol Ann Duffy retires as poet laureate next year, and we’ll get a new one. It probably won’t be Luke Wright. But it would be so brilliant if he were.
We need your help…
When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.
Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.