Come and see us in Edinburgh

You’ve seen some comedy. You’ve seen some theatre. It’s time for something different. Prepare to have your preconceptions of poetry shattered as London’s smash-hit stand-up poetry night Rhymes With Orange returns, fresh from last year’s acclaimed sell-out run. Come and experience this noisy, disgustingly fun performance poetry extravaganza and have yourself some belly laughs in the Belly Dancer.

That’s right, after a triumphant preview in London, we are hitting Edinburgh this week with all our bestest best bits from the year!

We’re performing an hour’s show at 10pm every evening from 4th-10th of August. Come and see us at Udderbelly, Cowgate, and tell your friends! Book tickets here. 

 

Space-ageddon

And so it came to pass that last night was another belting night of rhymes, words, songs, laughs, tears (happy and sad), moving and, of course, shaking. Not to mention David Bowie.

The Starman’s presence was felt throughout the evening as several poets took the opportunity to pay tributes both hilarious and touching. As well as Bowie we had:

– a cynical spaceman floating towards a black hole
– a Dragon’s Den pitch for the newly discovered SPACE TIME (between Sunday and Monday)
– a touching tribute to Christa McAuliffe, set to be the first teacher in space
– an angry pedant who hates Star Wars (‘there’s no sound in space!’)
– online comments about a ‘real life’ alien sighting
– a poem about kitchen sex

and waaaay waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more. We’re back on 24 March so see you again at the Bedroom Bar! Keep your eyes peeled for tickets, theme and those all-important open mic slots!

Christmas special on 3rd December: Book because we love you.

Every year our Christmas show sells out in advance.

Every year we tell everyone it’s going to sell out in advance. Book early.

Every year, many people say to each other: “It’s just a sales tactic, we’ll be fine booking a couple of days before or something. Surely poetry nights don’t sell out in advance? Especially not in the busy festive season. No need to book now.”

You know what happens to those people?

THEY MISS OUT ON THE PACKED-OUT ROOM OF JOY:

THEY MISS OUT ON THE LOVE:

THEY MISS OUT ON THE OPEN MIC SHENANIGANS:

THEY MISS OUT ON GIN-ADDLED STAGE BANTZ:

THEY MISS OUT ON EPIC JUMPER ACTION:

THEY MISS OUT ON THE UNASHAMED FESTIVE GEEKERY:

They miss out on the Beyonce stage invasions, the pube jokes, the special guests, the mince pies, the impromptu after party where Ellie’s mum dances until 3am. In short, they miss a night so fun no-one can pause for long enough to take decent photographs of it.

We love you, and don’t want you to miss out. That’s why we tell you to book a ticket. BOOK A TICKET.

From sweaty amateurs to the Fringe

Two sold out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe.
4-star reviews.
How did we get here?!

I distinctly remember the first show Rhymes With Orange did three years ago. Our friends and us packed into the too small, upstairs events room of a pub. The original Oranges all sweating bullets, more from nerves than the sweltering heat – most of us had never written and read stand-up poems before.

Now: Fast-forward to the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and the Big Belly space at Underbelly Cowgate is buzzing.

Kim slinks up to the stage wearing a beret and an expression of mock angst. She launches into a melodramatic, clichéd confession of PAIN (oh the pain!)

At first the audience quiets, not sure what to make of it. Then: Thomas leaps up, kicks her off the stage, and tells the audience how it’s actually going to be: shake those rattles! The audience whoops and hollers and we’re off!

It’s another night of raucous, high-energy stand-up poetry that our regular audiences have come to know. The show is especially polished and tight. Each of us performs one poem and introduces the next poet, one after another, ultimately returning to stage multiple time to reprise some of the audiences’ (and our!) favourite pieces from the past few years.

Personally, I was blown away. Having had to bow out after the first year of RWO to study in America, it was a mind blowing to see how much people had grown in the subsequent two years. No more sweaty amateurs playing to their friends. These were supremely confident performers and poets – dare I say professionals? – rocking a fringe audience in a professional venue. Our reviewers agreed, claiming, “[these] writers and poets perform with verve, energy and real commitment.” And that was our first show (THEY SHOULD HAVE SEEN THE SECOND.)

This wasn’t an accident. Lots of work went into the show as the crew honed their favourite material, trialed it at the preview show and rehearsed it repeatedly the days leading up to our first show. The founding members – Kim, Stevie, Rachel, Thomas, and I – along with more recent but seasoned Rhymers, Becky, Ellie, Sam, and Dan, wanted to make sure the audience had a good time and that we showed Underbelly we could bring in a crowd.

In the end, we were happy. The Underbelly was happy. The audience was happy.

And now, we get to start over.

This Thursday, it’s an ALL NEW SHOW.
New pieces for your stand-up poetry pleasure!
Stevie Tyler on the mic as compere.
And who knows? Maybe the seeds of our next sold out show at Fringe!

Hope to see you there!

Buy your ticket

 

Oranges in Edinburgh

This year, for the first time, Rhymes With Orange is sending a crack squad of poets to the Edinburgh Fringe. Their mission has several objectives:
1. To experience the kind of inspiration that can only be found on a five hour train journey.
2. To spread peace, love and oranges to the people of Scotch.
3. To study the effect of longer daylight hours on creativity.
4. To visit the birthplace of Rhymer Thomas and find out why he turned out the way he did.
5. To bring back a year’s supply of Tunnock’s caramel wafers.
6. To find out whether the people of Scotch have any words that rhyme with orange.
But most importantly,
7. To dazzle audiences with a life-changing display of poetical brilliance.

It is a challenging mission, but luckily they have assembled a team so talented that if there were customs officials at the border, each member would be stopped for bringing twice their allowance of genius into the Land of Scotch.

The lineup:

Becky Dennis
The hardest-twerking woman in showbiz. Becky’s performance will include tales of revenge and an unexpected item in a swimming pool.

Stevie Tyler
Twice named Britain’s Filthiest Feminist. Stevie will take the stage to explain why she feels a deep connection with Hannibal Lecter.

Thomas Muirhead
The prodigal son returneth. Thomas has seen a vision of God, but it doesn’t look like you think.

 

Daniel Piper
Writerly comedian. Dan will take the audience on a dark and deeply personal journey into his soul as he experiments with modern Britain’s two great scourges: drugs and vegetarianism.

Kim Pryor
Super-smart polymath. Kim will lament the march of corporations and technology on childhood, mourning how “apple-bobbing” has come to mean dunking another kid’s iPhone in a bucket.

Ellie Dawes
Unusually committed pyjama-wearer. Ellie has met the real-life Peter Pan and it turns out he’s an insufferable twat.

 

Rachel Malham
Celebrity watcher. Rachel enters into correspondence with Maggie Gyllenhaal and snarfs a kebab with Kerry Katona.

 

Sam Wong
The scientist. Sam will employ slippery puns, musical wizardry, and empirical data to refute the hypothesis that there are plenty more fish in the sea.

With this formidable cadre of poets, the mission stands every chance of succeeding.

Rhymes With Orange will perform two shows at Underbelly, Cowgate on 17 and 25 August. Tickets are on sale now from the Underbelly website. The preview show in London on 9 July is almost sold out – BOOK NOW.

Introducing: Rhymes with Orange Wednesdays

From next week onwards, we’re meeting up to write every alternate Wednesday evening, and we’d love you to join us.

The Rhymes crew have been holding successful Breakfast of Champions writing breakfasts for yonks but apparently we’ve heard that some people don’t love to wake up early for a 7am pre-work writing sesh! So, for all you people of the night, we’ve decided to run some writing evenings.

Whatever your level of writing experience, please feel welcome to come along and join us. You can join in our inspiration exercises, or if you’re already inspired, work on your own ideas.

Rhymes with Orange are dedicated to supporting new writers until you’re brave enough to get on stage and read your poem out loud. We’ll offer support, helpful advice, constructive feedback, laughter and, when all else fails, wine. Plenty of wine*.

First Rhymes with Orange Wednesday: 4th March from 7pm at Euphorium Bakery, 202 Upper Street, Islington.

After this we’ll continue every other Wednesday, so March 11th, 18th, 25th etc. We’re trying out the venue though, so we’ll let you know if we decide to try a different place.

If you’re waiting for a prompt to start writing, this is it. See you there.

 

A diagram of how Rhymes with Orange works:

 

*you buy your own wine. We’re not some kind of charitable wine service.

Rhymes Big Massive Christmas Special

‘Tis the Season to be Orange

Here at Rhymes HQ we’re still buzzing from last week’s Rhymes Big Massive Christmas Special. If you were there, we hope you had a blast (and took part in both the Limerick Challenge and the “All I want for Christmas” stage invasion). If you weren’t, (and that’s possible, because it was a TOTAL SELL OUT), let us give you the rundown on what you missed.

Thomas our compere kicked off the night with us all singing that great classic poem ‘A Fairytale of New York’, accompanied by Open Mic Poet Sam Wong on ukelele.  Thomas judged the best jumper from a stage shortlist of three. I have to say I thought my own ‘Santa Paws’ pug jumper was pretty awesome, but…fair’s fair.

I joined the other featured performers Ellie, Stevie, Kim, Becky, Dan and Geoff in tackling this month’s theme of food. The winner of the last Rhymes Open Mic, Tom Gill, performed a cracking set accompanied by his guitarist and gave Morrissey a run for his money with his singing and his portrayal of modern love. Thom Hoffman won the Limerick Challenge with his “Grinch with chainsaw hands” and Sam Wong claimed the Orange Crussh Open Mic Crown for the second time.

The night didn’t finish with the poetry -oh ho no! The minute the poets left the stage, the merry revelling crowd stormed it and showcased their own creativity by busting ALL THE MOVES to Mariah.

I know I’m biased and I’ll tell you this is the best and most fun night out ever, but don’t just take my word for it – see for yourself at the first Rhymes of 2015, on Thursday 5th February.

Tickets are available now at: https://v1.bookwhen.com/rhymeswithorange

So, Thursday 5th February. Put it in your diary now in pen. Or, since it’s almost 2015, in your mobile telephone. Write it everywhere and see you there, oranginos and oranginas.

Merry Christmas and thanks for your support in 2014,

Rach and The Rhymes Crew x

 

 

 

 

 

 

What happens on a Rhymes with Orange writing retreat.

Ellie here. So some of us went away on a long weekend for a Rhymes with Orange writing retreat a few days ago. There were 11 of us, some seasoned Rhymes performers, some awesome long term supporters and even a couple of relative newbies. Basically an extremely talented group of some of the loveliest people you will ever meet. It was indescribable amounts of fun.

When you tell people you are going on a poetry retreat they look at you in an odd way like they think you are being pretentious and are about to start quoting things they have never heard of. Thomas describes it to people as a “creative retreat” which to my mind is not better. Rachel M says “we’re going on a retreat! Not a religious one.” When we were shopping for food in Morrison’s on the way there she told this to everyone we saw. If you, like the people of the Maldon Morrison’s, are wondering what the hell happens on a RwO-non-religious-creative-poetry-retreat, here is a blog post to give you an insight into what happened over the weekend. Every word is true. The theme for the retreat was ‘savages’. These brilliant photos were taken by Thom Hoffman and Rachel Malham.

On Friday night we all arrived on Northey Island. It’s an island in Essex with a population of 2 which is cut off at high tide. Some of us got there early to bring the food and decorate the place like a pirate bar. Those who arrived after dark had an altercation with a bald taxi driver with an eye on the back of his head who was too nesh to cross the causeway.

When everyone arrived they went to find their rooms and got their (vague) weekend schedule and murder mystery info and Rhymes Retreat Pencil. We dressed up as pirates, Thom attached a woolly hat to his face. Jon made epaulettes out of tin foil. I had a beard. Aine had no thumbs.

Then we had dinner and then Thomas got murdered. Possibly by Stevie because he was eating spaghetti with his pirate hook and it was going all over everyone. We drew round him with chalk and then everyone got drunk and mostly failed to work out who was the murderer but came up with some excellent pirate puns.

It is good to play a big daft game at the start of the retreat, everyone was great friends by the end of it and not just because we had drunk most of the booze.

Then we wrote our first poems, using pictures of animals and ourselves that we had brought. We swapped them. I wrote a poem about a witch and an aye-aye.

If anyone tried to apologise for their work at any point over the weekend, Stevie made them drink horrible Aldi Limoncino which tastes of toilet duck. #apolocino.


They we all drew pictures of animals for a couple of hours. I went to bed at this point but Aine, Thom and Thomas stayed awake and decided to try to swim in the pond. Swimming in a pond at 4.30am in November is not conducive to a productive writing retreat. They failed.

On Saturday we all got up for breakfast and by 10am we were writing again, this time about our first impressions of the island. So many of these poems were amazing and a couple of the writers worked on them for the cabaret in the evening, making them even more amazing.


Then we had a delicious lunch. Everyone pitched in with cooking and washing up over the weekend but special mention to Stevie who calculated the food and planned menus to feed everyone all weekend which is WITCHCRAFT.

In the afternoon everyone was put into groups of various sizes and we all prepared performances for the evening cabaret, which is secretly my favourite bit of the retreat. Also, Kim taught Sam and Thom to play the cups. In the evening we set the stage, and performed the best cabaret in the whole world, deciding the order by picking pastel pieces of paper from the pitcher of performance. I’m sorry I can’t remember all the performances exactly but they included:

– A sea shanty about cannibalism from Sam Wong

– A poem about the man who leaves those pictures of women in phone boxes from Jon Hoggard

– A ‘bitchy bake off’ performed in the kitchen by Kim Pryor and Rachel Malham

– A performance art piece in which Sam Wong, Thomas Muirhead, Stevie Tylor and Rachel Newton dressed up as the Russian National Dance company and hit kittens with hammers.

– A Rhyming play skit about MPs and spin doctors from Aine Murphy and I

– An immersive and interactive Christmas Dinner experience orchestrated by Thom Hoffman, Jon Hoggard and Georgia Gregory.

– Loads more hilarious and amazing and jaw-droppingly excellent poems.

After the cabaret we played games late into the night.

On Sunday morning we all picked a place on the island out of the hat, wrote a poem about it and then went on a walk and heard the poems in the different areas of the island.

I cocked this up a bit and made Sam write a poem about cows, even though there are no cows on the island in winter. Oops. Blimey, there were some amazing poems though. Rachel Newton made us cry.

Thom put his, Shipwreck, on his website so you can see and hear it! Check it out.

At 12 midday Thom died because he was holding the Black Spot.

Then we had a massive roast dinner and COULDN’T MOVE. Some of us had to leave, which was sad. The rest of us sat about in a comatose state in front of the hot fire and napped. I read some books about Northey Island and read everyone a Just So story by the fire. Jon read all of The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe and drew a sketch of the island. Kim and Thomas played a game about the plague or something. We tried to eat all the rest of the food but it was impossible. It felt like Christmas day. We played bananagrams and the accent game. Rachel M and Sam are good at accents. I am rubbish. Thomas did epic amounts of washing up. We went to bed and in the morning we went home.

Returning to the grey realities of London and work, we were cheered when we looked on the internet and saw that Christmas Rhymes with Orange on Thursday is SOLD OUT. Fully refreshed and buzzing with creativity, we can’t wait to enjoy it with you all.

 

Rach Rhymes 2012

Dishing the dirt: Rhymes turns 2

It doesn’t feel like two years. Two years since we decided, as a dare, to go to an open mic night and all get up and do a poem, once. It felt terrifying. We were a group of colleagues and friends who all wrote together once a week and once we set ourselves this goal, there was no backing out. Together, we spurred each other on. We wrote for it, we got nervous. We invited friends to come. The one thing we hadn’t planned for was that not a single one of us would get on the open mic list, as it was already full. We were all dressed up with nowhere to go…but the back row. Someone (I think this was my brother, but I’d already had quite a few glasses of wine by this point) said “There’s five of you – why don’t you put on your own night?” and less than a month later – on Wednesday 13 June 2012 – Rhymes was born, in a sweaty room above a pub in King’s Cross.

Since then, we’ve grown so much. There are more of us. We’re more confident performers. As we write new material to a new theme every time, we’re all looking back at quite a pile of poems since we began. We’ve brought our mates along, and they’ve brought their mates. And they’ve all come back.

We celebrated our second birthday on 19th June, in Shoreditch this time, and we pulled a big crowd despite it being a) a summer’s evening and b) the night of an England World Cup game. Our theme was Dirt, and Kim opened her set with the very same poem she opened Rhymes with two years ago, about needing a wee at school. Ellie terrified us with her creepy torch-lit poem of The Grimlig Goblin. (We won’t be forgetting that in a hurry – when I went to the loo afterwards there were two girls hiding in there, terrified, who I had to coax out with the promise of a chocolate orange if only they took part in our limerick challenge. I hope they’ve recovered since.)
There are many immortal lines featuring Hannibal Lecter but Stevie added a new one with her lusty take on dirt. Thomas worked his brilliant compering magic and even got his Dad to do a limerick. Our Open Mic winner was Thom Hoffman, who walked away with the coveted Chocolate Orange. As usual the Orange Crush Open Mic was a hotbed of talent – we’ll never think of Adrian Chiles in the same way EVER AGAIN following Rhymes regular Jon Hoggard’s poem.
I love that all this is still going after two years. That we dared ourselves to do this, that one time, and we dared to keep it going, not wanting to stop. We’re still here. And not just that, but our friends come, and come back, and decide they’ll get up and do a limerick, and maybe one day the open mic….
Come. Laugh. Rhyme. I dare you.

The next Rhymes with Orange is Thursday 14 August at the Bedroom Bar, Shoreditch. Book your tickets now at https://bookwhen.com/rhymeswithorange

 

Poets on Northey Island & Other Stories

It’s been a busy couple of month’s for us here at Rhymes. We started spring in style with our second ever poetry retreat. Last year there were four of us, the organisers, but this year we stepped it up to 12 people! We decided to run it as a pilot for future such retreats and invited people who <3 Rhymes with Orange, have supported us throughout the year and have got up and done some stuff on the Rhymes stage (more on this in a bit). Next up we had the Hear no Evil festival. We were asked to do a 1 hour slot and got all of our resident poets up to do a couple of their favourite pieces and in a packed out railway arch in Hackney, they really delivered. The audience were predominantly non-poetry and seemed to enjoy every minute. So we hope to introduced a few more people to our rowdy brand of poetry! Lastly, we have a brithday coming up! Our 2nd birthday is on the 19th of June at the Bedroom Bar in Shoreditch at 7.30pm. You can buy tickets here.

So a little mroe about that retreat! Well, one sticky spring day, with hearts full of dreams and bags full of notepads, we headed off on a short 30 minute train and then 40 minute taxi to the remote island of Northey in Malden, Essex. That doesn’t sound to remote or exotic but that’s what charmed us so much to find this little treasure in an Essex estuary! And there, with the rugged island (shipwreck and all) to ourselves, we spent the weekend writing, doing creative exercises, devising plays and partaking in the most epic treasure hunt  of all time (I’m talking birdhuts, shipwrecks, buried treasure, ponds, gypsies…) organised by Ellie and Daisy Dawes. To say it was a productive weekend is an understatement. Everybody who came got poems out of it, many got friends out of it and everyone got a hangover out of it. The feedback was great and we will definitely be running another one later in the year. Probably at the same location because it was so beautiful and private (can only be accessed at low tide!). So watch this space for news of the next epic poetry retreat!