Anthropoetry is a journey through the body with performance poet and BBC Radio 4 slam champion Ben Mellor as our guide. Starting from the top down, we get poems in relation to the head, respiratory system, heart, breast, stomach and penis.
Mellor is accompanied onstage by the musician Dan Steele, who uses samples, loops, a laptop and an acoustic guitar as a backdrop to Mellor’s poetry. The music fits Mellor’s style and delivery perfectly, creating a fantastic and appropriate musical surrounding to the vocal stylings of our confident and affable performer.
Arriving on stage dressed as a doctor, Mellor takes a couple of poems to really get going, but hits his stride when he unleashes a lyrical gem about the respiratory system. Here the performance element of Mellor’s personality takes over and we see a creative poet in his element. Using a series of loops, Mellor samples his breathing, the sound of his tongue, mouth, teeth and lips to create an original soundscape that he recites his poetry over. The synergy between poet and musician is key, as Mellor and Steele provide a formidable double act that never loose sight of their intentions as poet and musician.
Another highlight is Mellor’s tribute to the breasts and an ode to a right wing page 3 model. Here poetry takes a back seat against a pure hip-hop approach, which is delivered with style and class. Although the comedy aspect of the performance is not as sleek as the poetry and music, both Mellor and Steele are likeable and appealing characters. Even when Ben Mellor forgets to turn off the sampler and finds his voice echoing back at himself, it is difficult to find a fault in his onstage persona.
The talent of both our performers is even more obvious with the last number. Steele takes a seat behind the piano of the bar and Mellor delivers another heartfelt and sincere poem.
Mellor is a versatile performer with a talent and attitude that makes him one of the most intriguing spoken word artists out there. Anthropoetry is an original and fascinating concept and it will be interesting to see what Mellor and Steele come up with for next years fringe.
Venue: Fingers Piano Bar (Venue 221)
Dates: 4-17 August (except Mondays)
Time: 19.50- 20.50