I’d like to begin this review with a precursor: I went into this production with the assumption that I wasn’t going to like it.
I booked the tickets with no prior knowledge of what I was about to experience and when someone at the Everyman handed me a flyer with the words ‘spoken word performance’ written on it my heart sank.
Spoken word performances, to me, seemed to carry an air of unearned pompousness. The kind of thing you see at half-assed fundraising events or, much more recently, adverts for mortgages.
What I soon found out, though, was that my prejudices towards spoken word were irrelevant. The Way I See It made me view spoken word poetry in a completely different light.
A production from the Young Everyman and Playhouse Producers cohort, The Way I See It was both written and performed by George Miaris. The performance consists of a sole, unnamed narrator who weaves a tale of your typical everyman on the street, combining the spoken word poetics of Miaris interspersed with the unique vocals of Beija Flo, as well as audio-visual stimulus, supplied by Dee Dixon.
We are taken on a journey through your typical English street, Miaris initially adopt the role of narrator-in-chief, painting us a picture of his corner of the world in a somewhat disaffected way.
It is when he starts speaking in the role of the characters that reside in this space that the piece truly comes alive.
Telling us the story of the struggling mum trying to make good, the contrite homeless man trying to get his partner back, the female student trying to tow the fine line between prude and prostitute.
In these characters spouting off poetry, we get to see something beautiful: honey dripping from the lips of people who seem to have lost the sweetness in their lives.
Miaris inhabits them all and does so in a such a real and intelligent way that it strikes a chord with the audience. At any given time you can spot a different person in the crowd squirm around in their seats when they identify character they’ve come across at some point in their life.
While the musicality of the piece was sublime, with the soundscape created by Dixon heightening the emotion of the performance, it was the lyricism coming from the tongue of Miaris blew me away.
The lines are so loaded with powerful imagery that you dare not switch off for fear of missing out. One line about the ‘rain coming down like lines of code in the Matrix’ stuck with me for the entire car journey home.
The Way I See It seeks to bring flavour to the lives of the truly ordinary and it most definitely achieves that end. My only disappointment is that this performance has a mere four nights at the Everyman.
It’s the calibre of performance you would see earning multiple plaudits at the Edinburgh Fringe. Everyone involved in this show should be especially proud. I hope the show gets to tour and I truly look forward to seeing what the trio of Miaris, Dixon and Flo do next – as well as the next event this group of Young Producers decide to bring to Liverpool.
You can catch The Way I See It at the Everyman Theatre until Tuesday July 24th, tickets can be purchased from here. For more from George Miaris, you can take a look at his website.
The Founder of How To Do Theatre, Tom is heavily involved in all aspects of this online theatre magazine and wants to help create a fantastic resource for everyone who may need it. He is also a graduate of the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Young Writers course so when not writing for this website he is off scribbling plays of his own.