A City of Foxes - Spoken Word, Edfringe Preview

This spoken word poem about identity, bigotry and unlikely friendship took place in the downstairs bar of The Purple Turtle. The intimate setting worked well for this piece, and there was a small set consisting of a table with a tablecloth and tea cups, and music played inbetween scenes.

Becci Fearnley is an engaging performer and her story about a young girl who befriends an old woman has a lot of merit as well as good poetry, rhyme and delivery.

I liked Becci's description of the protagonist teenager Durga: her personality, clothing (purple cowboy boots) and her love of football creates a believable character who is not stereotyped by her gender. She meets an elderly lady Martha, who we discover is in an emotional limbo, traumatised by her bereavement for her deceased daughter.

Urban foxes are the metaphor throughout the tale, and characters are described with their traits.

Becci is crowdfunding to take this performance into community venues and schools, the topics raised include the isolation of elderly people and attitudes towards race and immigration. These should be discussed and racism / stereotypes challenged. Having an elderly white racist person (Martha's character) could almost be a stereotype in itself. However, there is mention of Durga's Indian grandmother's racism towards her white son-in-law, so Becci presents more than one example of who could be racist.

How important is it for a piece about racism to be articulated by a person who has experienced racism themselves? Is personal experience necessary? I wondered whether a better medium could be found for a narrative about the voice of a young, mixed race Indian British girl. Because this is a piece about identity and racism, could it work better as a first person monologue, delivered by a young Indian female actor?

Overall a thoughtful, well executed story.

(c) Wendy Thomson 2015
reviewed Friday 17th July at The Purple Turtle, Reading

About Becci Fearnley:

Becci Fearnley is a spoken word artist who has gallivanted in London for two years before settling down (tentatively) in Reading. By day she is a teacher of English in a secondary school in Whitley, by night a feminist, activist, poet and general thespian. She has performed in various venues and festivals around the country, including The Roundhouse, Camden, the Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury, and in the grounds of Lulworth Castle for Camp Bestival. She writes narrative poetry and stories for performance, many of which are about powerful and imaginative girls. Her Ebook, ‘Ella Out Of Shape’ will be available on Amazon.co.uk soon. Her ultimate dream is to grow poetry on trees in classrooms and kitchens, and she can never be far from a hot cup of tea.’

a City of Foxes comes to PBH free fringe at Edfringe 16th-22nd August 2015 http://www.broadwaybaby.com/shows/a-city-of-foxes/709244


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