Two sold out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe.
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!
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 hardest-twerking woman in showbiz. Becky’s performance will include tales of revenge and an unexpected item in a swimming pool.
Twice named Britain’s Filthiest Feminist. Stevie will take the stage to explain why she feels a deep connection with Hannibal Lecter.
The prodigal son returneth. Thomas has seen a vision of God, but it doesn’t look like you think.
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.
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.
Unusually committed pyjama-wearer. Ellie has met the real-life Peter Pan and it turns out he’s an insufferable twat.
Celebrity watcher. Rachel enters into correspondence with Maggie Gyllenhaal and snarfs a kebab with Kerry Katona.
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.
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.
Open mic slots for Rhymes with Orange sell out fast. The first people to hear when they go on sale are the people on our email list, so for your best chance to brave the stage, sign up for our lovely occasional emails.