SARAH KAY & PHIL KAYE: LIVE AT EartH
As part of their short International tour which included performances in Singapore and Manila, Sarah Kay & Phil Kaye were in London for a sold-out run at EartH Concert Hall in Hackney. Knowing it would probably be a while before the duo visited these shores again, I arranged to travel down from Glasgow to attend the show despite only having one spare day in which to make the trip and get back again. As luck would have it, on the day before the show, I was given the opportunity to work at the event which made the long journey even more worthwhile.
Arriving at the venue a few hours before doors opened, I climbed the three flights of stairs and was greeted by the sight of two familiar figures kidding around on stage. Randomly pointing, smiling and laughing amongst themselves, Sarah and Phil were posing for the photographer who was taking the shots that wouldn't be possible once the 700-strong crowd were in the theatre. After a while, they climbed through the auditorium to say hi to the handful of people who would be working on the show and we got to work setting up. With the stage set and the venue organised, the doors were opened and the audience took their seats. This was the first time the poets had performed in the UK so you could feel the excitement in the room and the anticipation building for the performance.
After a short introduction by their friend and colleague, Caroline, the room became silent and the show began. In addition to performing several of their poems together, Sarah and Phil alternated individual performances. Phil performed poems about his childhood stutter, his parents' divorce and his Grandmother's terminal illness, whilst Sarah spoke about her love for her brother, broken relationships, and recited an open letter to the person who inadvertently stole her vibrator while breaking into her car on a rainy night. They ended the show together with audience favourite 'When Love Arrives' before stepping back, taking a bow, and leaving the stage to thundering applause and a well-deserved standing ovation.
After the event there was a book signing, which had a queue running the entire length of the auditorium and back again. Despite having to wait a long while in a rather hot and stuffy environment, the audience were in high spirits and it was nice to see so many people who had arrived on their own chatting and making friends as they waited. With the queue eventually subsiding and the last person having left the hall, we all took a quick break to have a chat and calculate the merch sales, and it was a lovely surprise when Sarah presented me with a signed copy of one of her poetry books as a thank you for travelling so far and helping out with the show.
Having packed up and said our goodbyes, I rushed for the tube to Victoria and onto the night bus where I spent the 10 hour journey reading through the book and watching poetry videos before arriving back in Glasgow exhausted - but glad of having had such a great experience.
In addition to writing and performing poetry, Sarah and Phil work as educators with the Project Voice program which encourages empowerment through poetry. Check out the website here.