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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016: 10 Spoken Word Performances To Catch

Picture of Tori Chalmers
Updated: 17 August 2016
The comedy and theater performances at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe tend to steal the spotlight. However, the spoken-word portion should not be overlooked. As a vocalized art, spoken word can take a number of forms. From poetry readings to hip-hop, jazz poetry, monologues, and slam poetry, a spoken word performance can engage the mind and stir the soul. Here we highlight ten performances to catch at the 2016 Fringe.

Alexis Dubus Verses The World

Alexis Dubus is one to watch. This wizard of words has a natural wit that cannot be taught, and when Dubus enters a room, audiences are transfixed. “Alexis Dubus Versus The World” is a mash-up of storytelling, sketch, stand-up, poetry, and spoken word that will leave you amused and entertained for months to come. This is exactly what the Fringe is all about, and Dubus’s lyrical genius will undoubtedly win you over.

Alexis Dubus | Courtesy Of Patch Dolan
Alexis Dubus | Courtesy Of Patch Dolan

Freedom Of Speech

Spoiler alert — this is one hell of a comedy show and will leave tongues wagging. “Freedom Of Speech” quite rightly has no boundaries whatsoever (or censors for that matter). Imagine a monk and a professional wrestler. Throw them in a room together and watch them go at it. This should give you a sense of what to expect. Social barriers will dissipate as Rick Molland and Sully O’Sullivan go head-to-head in an epic stand-up comedy battle about freedom of speech. Expect lots of riveting political talk and blunt opinions.

Subverted Banksy | Courtesy of Molland & Sullivan
Subverted Banksy | Courtesy of Molland & Sullivan

The Harry And Chris Show

Consider “The Harry And Chris Show” a welcome breath of fresh air. This pair has a magnetic stage presence and some killer chemistry, which radiates throughout their show. Anticipate music and comedy that will send crowds into fits of uncontrollable laughter. Just to save you the whispering throughout the show amongst friends…the answer is yes — they have been likened to Ryan Gosling and Justin Timberlake. Not only that, one is a World Poetry Slam Champion. Bingo. These guys certainly have many more awards in the pipeline.

Harry and Chris | Courtesy of David Salisbury
Harry and Chris | Courtesy of David Salisbury

50% Liability

Ah, the age-old debate over who is responsible for what! “50% Liability” will have audiences biting their nails with anticipation while experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions. John reflects on a series of highly unfortunate events that have led to his inner turmoil. The question remains, however: Were these real-life experiences self-inflicted? Was it simply fate or luck? And at what point do you take ownership for life’s consequences? The audience can decide. Either way, this display of spoken word is relatable, interesting, and raw.

Poet Of The Impossible

For those who regard audience participation with terror, steer clear! However, for anyone who loves to jump right into the middle of the festivities, this is the show to see. Prepare to be led on a mysterious journey filled with monologues and magic. Renz Novani has come to the Fringe with the mission of winning the hearts of the crowds through ingenious illusions of the mind, captivating card magic, and most importantly, mystical prose. Expect to leave “Poet Of The Impossible” in a new frame of mind — a frame that leaves you awestruck and boggled.

Oh Flower Of Scotland: Then And Now

Scotland has been home to some of the world’s greatest writers and poets, and the inventive “Oh Flower Of Scotland: Then And Now” investigates its literary past in the context of contemporary culture. Attuned to the current turmoil in the political realm, this show explores issues such as independence and national identity, illuminating Scotland’s poetic legacy while engaging with today’s cultural shifts.

The Heroine Question

This event uses the art of spoken word to explore the powerful female archetype and its generation-spanning influence. “The Heroine Question” delves deeply into characterizations of female leads in literature and popular culture. From Alice in Wonderland to Hermione Granger, this performance compels the audience to actively examine female identity as constructed in literature past and present. Expect to ponder possibilities for future heroines and how they will manifest differently in years to come.

Exactly Like You

The dynamic Lotte Rice radiates star power in her new one-woman show “Exactly Like You.” Waking up to find herself in bed with a strange man, and unable to recall the previous night, Rice asks herself: What to do? She thus embarks on a journey to reconstruct the events of the night before, all the while channeling the iconic Nina Simone. Expect powerful poetry and a commanding performance.

Other Voices Spoken Word Cabaret

Mic check one check two. Stop by this show and experience some of today’s most brilliant spoken word artists and a number of special guests. Putting a cabaret spin on the spoken-word genre, “Other Voices Spoken Word Cabaret” will showcase a diverse array of characters with one thing in common — a way with words.

Women Speaking Their World: Bowdy Kite’s Spoken Word Sunday 2016

Women Speaking Their World: Bowdy Kite’s Spoken Word Sunday 2016 is an absolute gem of a show. There truly is no better way to experience the great art of spoken word than to immerse yourself in this series of five performances. Expect impressive and thought-provoking work from each of these female poets. But make sure to mark your calendar — this is a one-time-only performance.