Not the Brontes Present - Truly, Madly, Keighley - poetry/song review

Friends, family and even fans gathered at the Camden Head to watch Em Fleming and Polly Penter - two thirds of the group 'Not the Brontes' - perform their individual brand of Northern pride poetry and song. On for one night only, the show mixed poetry and song, humour and homesickness, to create an intimate evening which questioned the impact of leaving your Northern roots behind and moving to the big smoke.

The first poem by Em Fleming, 'Northern Line' was an interesting take on the emotions a parent feels when their child has a different accent to their own. Lyrical but witty, Fleming combined a funny idea with serious questions of belonging. Another poem by Fleming, 'Over the Top', was cheeky but dark and was accompanied by Martin Gore on guitar, creating an eery atmosphere. It invoked the terror which every Yorkshireman and woman experiences upon venturing into that No Man's Land of the Pennines; pushing forward on into Lancashire of all places, simply in aid of having a good night out.

Polly Penter performed her poem, 'Neither Here Nor There', which looked at what it is to never fully feel like you belong in either your hometown or your new city; a subject to which it was clear many audience members could relate. She also performed a dialogue heavy short story, which could have worked equally well as a short dramatic scene.

The night however came to a rather disappointing end with the inclusion of a short comedy sketch, read not performed, about Jesus of Nazereth going to a job interview. The concept was clever but the point was rather laboured. It was too long for a sketch and too short for a full scene, which left it floating in between, never fully becoming one or the other. Nevertheless, had the sketch been merely acted rather than read, it might have flowed better and therefore felt like more of a performance and less like University review comedy.

That said, this did not detract from the show as a whole. Let us hope that all three Brontes - sorry, not Brontes - will be back again next year for their delightful mix of southern softness and northern pragmatism.

(c) Katie Davison 2013
Not the Brontes Present - Truly, Madly, Keighley
Camden Head, Camden - 25th August 8pm

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