Review by Allison Browning
WHAT a grungy little gem I stumbled across! Jerkbeast,
at The Foundry pub.
Among the haphazard old couches in this rundown pub lies a theatrical
poetry night, on Sundays.
Upon entering, one might think to one's self, 'oh crap! another
bunch of poetic drunk wankers'.
This place does have an open mike, so there is every chance you
will catch the regular worm lady reciting poetry about wormwood
and the like.
But among the questionable poets, there are some absolute diamonds
in the rough!
This is the place where anything goes, and anyone can attempt
to capture the mixed bunch of audience members' attention.
Part of the night's entertainment will come from the reactions
of support or good natured heckling from the audience.
Part of the entertainment will certainly come from the drinking
(definitely makes some of the readings more bearable!).
And, very importantly, part of the night's entertainment will
come from from the fact that the audience is as much part of the
theatricality of this poetry night as the performer is.
And if the readings are bad, you can rely upon a good reaction
to the call of 'last drinks'.
The place looks like a bit of a tip, but this is the appeal.
It creates a non-pretentious, supportive, open-minded atmosphere,
where everyone is part of the event.
There is a piece of art everywhere, with dolls hanging from
the roof, and printed poetry pasted to ceiling and walls.
Don't forget to bring a pen (if you can brave their toilets -
tip for the ladies: bring some tissues with you) as downstairs,
in and around the toilets, you can write your personal, political
or poetic message on any wall.
Certainly not for the pompous or prudish, this place is an alternative
cultural gem for all who are open minded.
Jerkbeast @ The Foundry Pub, Sunday nights, cost: free
84-86 Great Eastern Street, London (Old St Tube)
The foundry also supports new performances offering a venue free
of charge for non funded shows.