Thursday, September 28

Some Sonnets and a Bit of Bach – Greenside @ Infirmary Street

Passionate about William Shakespear and Johann Sebastian Bach, or better yet wondered what these two historical figures have in common? Then you are in for a treat. Performed by the enthusiastic Sebastian Michael, performing his first spoken word solo at the Edinburgh Fringe.

This spoken word program will take you back to the past delving into the lives of Bach and Shakespear. Michael not only discusses Bach and Shakespear but adds a personal touch to the performance where he talks about his own artistic journey and how he encountered his love of these two artistic legends. The simplistic staging and clear color theme (since everything is in the color black) all eyes are on Michael, making the performance all the more intimate. Michael’s passion shines through in the moments when he dissects each of the men’s lives.

A really admirable thing to observe in Michael’s performance is his confidence. Despite being the only one on stage and with not much set to hide behind not once will you catch him nervously moving around. All of his movements are precise and calculated. Not only that but his friendly attitude and calming voice puts even the audience at ease. That said, during the longer poems the performance gained a monotone quality, since there was not a lot of movement happening, and Michael’s voice did not change much. However, later on Michael made up for it by moving from the front of the stage to his keyboard. Even occasionally playing a thing or two. The interchangeable mood lighting and spotlight matched the performance with its simple but direct message. The performer also did not have a mic, which in most cases was fine but during the more emotional bits Michael’s voice seemed to have receded to the back of his throat (instead of projecting forward), making it hard to hear him.

Overall, the performance is a great concept and was greatly executed by Michael, however I would say it is still a bit of a work in progress. Without spoiling too much of the surprise that Michael’s program entails, there was a moment where Michael made a mistake while playing the piano. Now the mistake would not have been as noticeable if not for the performer’s reaction to it. That distracted from the lovely piece being played and drew attention to the mistake at hand. However, Michael’s performance did satisfy by revealing the connection between the two artists.

Reviewer: Marcelina Kruczynska

Reviewed: 23rd August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.