‘Spoken word’ is never especially easy to summarise to someone that’s yet to see any themselves as content and delivery varies vastly between each performer. Whilst one of the medium’s greatest strengths, it also makes an ‘in-a-nutshell’ synopsis pretty challenging. However, over time I’ve learnt to expect passionate delivery, reflective content, well-crafted stage presence and quite a few laughs along the way.
Tim Clare adhered to those expectations, though he also added political satire, a bevy of fascinating historical characters, water pistols, maize-based snacks and a brief cameo from Mother Theresa! It’s worth noting that despite that impressive list, I’ve also kept a fair bit hidden to avoid spoiling any of the big surprises too; this show was bursting with a manic creativity that needs to be experienced in person.
Introduced by Byron Vincent, who warmed the audience with a few of his enjoyably unorthodox poems (as is tradition at Bristol’s ‘Word of Mouth’), Tim Clare bounded into the spotlight to perform his popular Edinburgh show.
For the next hour Tim adopted the loose role of ‘teacher/leader’, a persona within which he conveyed his step-by-step lesson in leadership using a mixture of PowerPoint presentations, practical demonstrations and luxurious rewards for his most attentive/sycophantic pupils.
Rhyming couplets and poetry in general were rare, though a poetic sense of delivery was evident in his vivid storytelling. Comedy was present in many shapes and forms though; Tim utilised technology, props, e-mail transcripts and a booming sound system to great effect, alongside the odd ‘traditional’ joke.
By the end of the evening, which flew past very quickly, I felt I’d dipped into interesting historical content, observed some clever political reflections, heard some well-crafted stories and enjoyed a great laugh too. Not only that, I came incredibly close to winning a Kinder Egg.
Not quite poetry, ‘How To Be a Leader’ was certainly skewed more towards stand-up comedy, though the content was so brilliantly varied that such a narrow label doesn’t really do it justice either. For the sheer novelty, let alone the impressively confident delivery, the show gets a solid ‘thumbs up’. I don’t necessarily think I’m any more of a revolution-starting leader than when I entered the classroom, but I certainly enjoyed the lesson!
8 / 10