Dominic Berry’s “No Tigers” ***

Banshee Labyrinth (Venue 156)

Spoken Word, Poetry

8-10, 15-16, 22, 26 Aug

Times Vary

 

Dominic Berry is a very talented performer. His energetically sincere style of slam poetry is well received and, at times, impactful. This helps “No Tigers” to become an entertaining show, but fails to unify an unfortunately haphazard script.

 

Berry introduces the show as being about ‘love and kindness.’ He asks if anyone in the audience is in a loving, monogamous relationship. When a number of hands are raised, he offers a pursed lipped smile, and strains ‘good for you.’ Berry has a seasoned stage personality, and is able to grasp the attention of his audience quite easily. Whether joking about Grindr or veganism, Berry is able to translate a personal experience clarity and humour.

 

Where “No Tigers” struggles is in its wildly varying tones. The playfulness of a poem praising Kevin Costner’s bum segues sharply into the bulimia and cocaine referencing ‘Men Behind Bathroom Doors.’ The repeated affirmation of ‘love and kindness’ feels at odds with ‘Call of Dooty’, a poem about defecating while playing video games. Each of these poems is individually noteworthy, but “No Tigers” struggles to create a sense of coherency through them.

 

The latter quarter of “No Tigers” features a guest poet from the Edinburgh Fringe. The spoken word haven of the Banshee Labyrinth feels personable for these interactions, and Berry’s banter with the audience is warm and inviting. After the guest poet finishes, Berry reassumes the stage and begins an anecdote about his attempted teenage suicide. This emotional whiplash un-balances the audience, and is a clear example of the need for editing and direction.

 

Dominic Berry offers a fine example of his work as a performance poet. He is evidently well versed in his craft, but unfortunately missteps with “No Tigers.”

 

Freddie Alexander