Friday, October 5, 2018

Suicide Notes -review- Northern Stage

Suicide Notes by Christopher Brett Bailey 
Northern Stage
2nd October 2018

Suicide Notes isn’t as depressive as it sounds, though to say it’s not depressive in one sense would be inaccurate. Christopher was brought up in the USA and Canada, but moved to the UK in his teen years, so his accent is undeniably American. He starts the show off sat at a desk, with an audio recording device, pretty much coughing at the entire audience for what seems like about five minutes - an odd introduction , but it tells you a lot about his character and humour. I had a similar start to my comedy sets when I performed comedy, “my names DR Carlos, I’m not a real doctor, but I do like to tell people what’s wrong with them.” Your intro should set up the rest of the show and (unlike most of my stand up gigs) it only got funnier from there on.

The start of this spoken word show reminded me of the many open mic comedy gigs I’ve been to. Lots of one liner poems, some funny, some insightful, some both. He’s an intriguing character, somewhat majestical. He has all the snear of a 70s punk, which is lucky , because he’s in a punk band himself. Look it up, it’s very long. He reminds me of a cross between Patti Smith of 70s punk fame and Zach De La Roche from rock band Rage Against the Machine. Every night is different as he reads from his latest spoken word book, Suicide Notes, the follow up to his last book This is How We Die. The book is supposed to be five hours long and this show was about a hundred minutes long.

There are interesting themes not just suicide, but a wide range of topics, there are some political bits, some life pondering moments and some existential questions I could certainly relate to. At one point he suggests that parents revealing in their child’s achievement's is the biological equivalent of smelling your own farts and that if you really want to make a difference take on someone else’s problem and adopt. My sentiments exactly, not quite sure the audience agreed with that, but look around you it’s clearly not a popular idea.

Some of his stories are kinda sadistic fables ingested with real elements, like the time he goes drinking with Adam off of the bible and that. It’s clear he has a wicked sense of humour and I certainty enjoyed his piece, However like a lot of poetry and spoken word it does tend to quite often wander into ranty and preachy territory. You can tell he likes to improvise and probably does a fair bit of automatic writing. Some of the longer spoken word bits do seem unedited and came across like a flow of conciousness. The guy has a great charisma though, you really want to know what he’s going to say next and, his one liners aside, you really don’t see what’s coming next.

If you enjoy poetry, comedy and spoken word, I suggest you check him out next time he tours, or catch his last date on this tour at the showroom in Chichester on the 18th October 2018.

Frank Cromartie Murphy

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