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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

OUR 2ND BIRTHDAY – June 19th – and the theme is… DIRT

Yep, you read right – we’re being blatant this time, our theme for our 2nd birthday is dirt – so come prepared to listen to us twisting that topic into the darkest and dingiest of places.

June 19th 2014, Rhymes with Orange turns two. So, come and celebrate with us on what will be without doubt the greatest night of spoken word nonsense in the world ever – until we turn three that is.

We’ll have the FULL set of featured performers:

  • Ellie Dawes
  • Becky Dennis
  • Rachel Marsh
  • Thomas Muirhead
  • Dan Piper
  • Kimberley Pryor
  • Stevie Tyler
  • and our open mic winner from last night – Josh Allsopp

As well as the WORLD FAMOUS ORANGE CRUSH OPEN MIC. If you want one of the tickets for that – do make your way to the booking page: http://bookwhen.com/rhymeswithorange as soon as you can as there are only six places available.

In fact, all of you be warned, this event will sell out, so buy your tickets now so you don’t have to cry into your ready meal wishing you were there.

 

The view from the audience

Last night for the first time since we started, I was an audience member not a performer, viewing the poets and the poems just like anyone else.

I was really happy to be ‘taking a rest’ (as all good performers like to say) because writing and performing new material every month or so is really quite hard work. Not, like, manual labour hard or even making custard from scratch hard, but playing a game of mental scrabble with yourself hard. With added self-doubt for extra fun.

So it was nice not to write, of course. But the real pleasure came from watching my fellow poets get up on stage and perform new poems, for the first time, all over again.

Because of our promise to write new material each time, every Rhymes with Orange is like the first one. No two have ever even been remotely similar in content, audience or performer. The combination that comes together each time is a unique and heady one. Is the audience rowdy? Or reflective? Are the performers feeling funny or feisty, or sad? Has the compere had a really shit day? Are we all going to be able to come together and make this thing happen?

But we do it, every time.

And sitting there in the low-lit room last night made me realise just how essential the audience is to the night. We are the cheerleaders and enablers, the shouters and the clappers. We’re the ones who implicitly give permission to the poets to perform. We, like a Roman emperor, give the thumbs up or thumbs down for each poem. We can condemn a poem to death with the mere stilling of our shakers or the silence of our laughter.

I watched spellbound and proud, as people I know and love; and people I barely know, stood tall and proud, pushed their chins up and walked into the blinding bright of the stage to share their words with me.

Their hearts will be beating so hard they’ll hear it in their ears like a bassline. They won’t be able to see the faces of the crowd, but they’ll be thankful for it. And they’ll have a dry taste in their mouth like they just did a shot of sand at the bar. But they’ll do the long slow walk to the stage anyway.

My privilege is in knowing how they will have sat down and written, rewritten, edited, panicked, practised, read out and read out and… had a quiet word with themselves in the loo beforehand. All before walking up on to the brightly lit stage and saying their poems for the first time to a crowd of people who’ve paid good money to be entertained by them.

And we will watch them, willing them on for their own good but also for ours. We want them to be good because we want to have a good time. I learnt last night that it is always the audience and never the poet who thinks ‘we’re in this together’.

We observers only ever see the tip of this enormous poetry iceberg,  the very peak of the giant thing that is writing and preparing for the stage. And I think that is good and right, because that’s how we want it to be.

The audience made the night last night, just like they have every time before.

Because of that, I can’t wait to get back up there and read out my tip of the iceberg, my  top of the mountain, my moment at the summit . Last night reminded me that the view up here is amazing and that I am so glad we’re all up there together.

Sort your January out. Rhymes with Orange is this Thursday.

Ah, January. You’re a hard month to love. The weather is awful, everyone is poor and on a diet, or even worse, off the booze. You’re a four week guilt trip that no one needs. The days are still so short that many of us only ever go outside in the dark and there aren’t even any Christmas lights up to make it look pretty.

But you’re nearly over! Hooray! Soon it will be February and that means it is almost time for SPRING. More importantly, it means most people have finally cracked and agreed that, yes, they should be fun and come out and do something that doesn’t involve wearing a onesie and watching repeats of CSI.
And this is where WE come in, oranges and oranginas! We ARE that fun.
Rhymes with Orange is this Thursday and we have a rhyme-slinging, shaker-shaking, beer-drinking poetry ruckus heading towards us faster than you can say ‘No booze for me, Im doing dry-January’.
The theme is Revenge – so we are hoping for some laughs, some chills and probably something a little bit creepy. The poets are in full swing and we can’t wait to see you there, so get a ticket on the website or just turn up on the door ready to blast the January blues away!

Get your advance tickets now

Deets:
Bedroom Bar (upstairs in the comedy theatre)
66-68 Rivington St, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3AY
Doors 7pm, show 8pm
£5 in advance, £6 on the door

Future dates of Rhymes with Orange

Good news! We’ve booked in dates for Rhymes with Orange for the first half of next year. All are at the bedroom Bar on Rivington Street in Shoreditch. Add these to your diary:

  • Thursday 30 January
  • Thursday 6 March
  • Thursday 10 April
  • Thurs 15 May

Woop!