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Review by Ben Graham (Bleedingcheek press)

Photo: Andrea Shamlou

 

Gary Goodman seems to have quietly ascended to the next level as a poet and performer, his initially unassuming diary-style confessional pieces in fact all carefully wrought and delivered with a keen sense of emotional pacing, each building up to an affecting climax as images and sensations collide, feelings mount and conflict and Gary’s delivery becomes more impassioned, the dry intellectual wit giving way to a torrent of anguish or, occasionally, joy. Crucially, Gary’s soul-searching never seems self-centred or isolating; he casts himself as a Chaplin-esque outsider, foolish, defeated, drunk, an adult waif but railing against an uncaring, brutish and stupid world in a way that his audience can immediately identify with- hence his growing popularity as a performer. Another recurring theme is fatherhood and his unconditional love for his two daughters through all the difficulties and missteps the role involves, again detailed with an unflinching honesty that listeners, be they parents or not, cannot help but recognise and appreciate.