mad doggerel cabaret – live
FROM REEFTON TO THE MUSSEL INN
This Thursday, 25 August
Get a glimpse of the joy, heart-felt irreverence and sheer beauty of the word that the Mad Doggerel Cabaret will bring to the Mussel Inn on Thursday by having a read over of this review from the Reefton show.
Review: Mad Doggerel Cabaret
Thursday 11th August
If you haven’t been to see many “Arts on Tour” shows here in Reefton then you may not be aware of the variety of high-quality styles of entertainment that these performers provide.
Apart from the different genres of music and great personalities that go with them that have been presented to us this way, there have been some that are really something else and every bit as worth experiencing.
Mad Doggerel Cabaret was one of these. They were two poets; Daren Kamali and David Eggleton the current New Zealand Poet Laureate, accompanied during many of their recitations by acoustic and electric guitarist, Richard Wallace. In his musical interpretations he gave their wonderful written work a further sense of rhythm and form to bring out that ‘rock star bursting to get out’ impression, particularly by David Eggleton as he gyrated and orated in time with the chimes and the rhymes
I do apologise for that and the ham that I am. Which brings me to Sam. Sam Hunt that is who David admits has been a big inspiration in his poetry and performance style.
First up in the evening though was Daren Kamali, who lives in Auckland but is native Fijian born and raised. His poetry was to me, beautiful and haunting and spoke of a migrants struggle through lamentations of cultural disturbance, family separation, becoming someone else but remembering with love and pride where he came from and the strength to be found there. He mixed his poems with English and Fijian prose that elevated the power and beauty that grew from them and connectedness we are finally embracing as part of a wider Pacific entity. I was fascinated by his poems that gave meaning and understanding to such things as the ‘kava ceremony and his mention of “Burotukula” seen only when the time is right, a mystical island that we would know as “Hawaiki”
But Daren is also more than a poet. He works with the ‘rough sleepers’ in Auckland and has encouraged many to tell their stories through poetry, even publishing a book of their great work, a copy of which was given away as a prize to a member of the audience who could recite a remembered poem.
David Eggleton’s time as Poet Laureate is almost over and he is the 12th to be honoured with that title. “The Pandemic Laureate” he calls himself. His work bores right into the ‘Kiwi vernacular and psyche’ with works entitled “Drift North”, “The Old Man Nor-Wester”, “Untold” about the tomb of the unknown miner in Cromwell, “Ode to the Five Cent Coin”, “The Bush Paddock”, “Wahine Toa”, “My Phone”, “Ode to Evil – Lust for Life”, “Sunburn” and “Identity Parade” Much of that was easily identifiable with great evocations like “farmers corrugated faces” and brought sniggers and enthusiastic “yeahs” from the audience.
One of his works really bagged Dunedin which paradoxically really made me feel homesick for the city I spent 15 years in. That was really clever in my opinion.
What he might compose about the West Coast I eagerly await.
Poetry may not be your thing but I do have a sneaking suspicion that a number who were there last night may have thought the same thing but gave it a shot anyway and were pleasantly surprised by what they experienced.
As David said “It is the job of the Poet Laureate to bring poetry to the people all over New Zealand”
The Reefton part of that mission was well achieved.
Keith Tonkin 12/8/22