Welcome! This is your first free article. Get more free articles when you sign up with your email.

Thick Skin, Elastic Heart

“Scattergun performance poetry”

Modern life is hard. That’s the main message of Drew Taylor-Wilson’s part-poetry, part-performance show, in which the Glasgow-based theatremaker explores everything from eco-anxiety to employment prospects. It’s called Thick Skin, Elastic Heart, but it could just as easily be titled Drew Taylor-Wilson Takes on the World.

On each leg of this Scottish tour, the show is supported by a local spoken-word artist. In Glasgow, it’s Lauran Kelly, who rattles off rapid-fire riffs on periods and politics with aplomb, her giggly wit disguising the bite of her verse.

The ensuing show is not entirely dissimilar: it’s essentially a series of short poems on contemporary issues, penned by Taylor-Wilson, then woven into an overlapping, interweaving tapestry for four committed performers – Charlotte Driessler, Robert Elkin, Cameron Fulton and Danielle Jam.

Under Lucy Wild’s movement direction, the cast slides and swivels across a patchwork set of colourful carpets for 70 minutes, snatching the narrative off each other, chattering over the top of each other, and speaking directly to the audience in unison. It’s extremely slick – if a tiny bit sixth-form drama.

It’s also funny, particularly the sections on which parts of your body it’s socially acceptable to have hair (male and female editions), and on the rejuvenating power of the great British green space (just watch out for the dog shit).

But, despite the humour, and despite Taylor-Wilson being basically right about everything, the show is too scattergun to stun seriously. There’s no drama, only disquisition on everything under the sun, making for an exasperated Twitter thread on stage.

Luke Wright, Poet Laureate review at Bar Bados, Edinburgh – ‘fierce, wistful and witty poetry’

Related to this Review

Kate Tempest: 'Everything is defined in monetary terms'Kate Tempest: 'Everything is defined in monetary terms'

Production Details
Production nameThick Skin, Elastic Heart
VenueThe Old Hairdresser’s
StartsFebruary 4, 2020
EndsFebruary 6, 2020
Running time1hr 10mins
AuthorDrew Taylor-Wilson
DirectorDrew Taylor-Wilson
Movement directorLucy Wild
Set designerCatherine Barthram, Rew Taylor-Wilson
CastCameron Fulton, Charlotte Driessler, Robert Elkin, Danielle Jam
TechnicalCatherine Barthram
ProducerSonnet Youth, Theatre Royal Dumfries
VerdictFour-handed piece of performance poetry about modern life that’s slickly staged but scattergun
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.
Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue

Invest in The Stage today with a subscription starting at just £3.98
The Stage
© Copyright The Stage Media Company Limited 2020
Linked In