Zanzibar Cats

Heathcote Williams
Roy Hutchins
Gilded Balloon Teviot

There are few opportunities to hear the work of a living poet performed on stage by someone else. Zanzibar Cats is a refreshing change.

The poems in the show have been selected and directed by Roy Hutchins and Heathcote Williams and are performed by Hutchins.

There is a table of props on the stage that seem to belong to a magic show rather than performance poetry. Yet each object can be matched up to a specific poem. For such a simple concept it works remarkably well.

The poems themselves are modern, short and engaging. They tell of life and death, of cats and dogs and bicycles.

The delivery is lively and entertaining and Hutchins threads in comical tales and anecdotes between them.

While the poems are all thought provoking, a few stand out as clear favorites. An Angel You Know is one of them and is a beautiful piece about death that allows a new perspective on it. The grand finale and title piece Counting the Cats in Zanzibar is also brilliant. It questions the greedy nature of the human race to have the world when they ignore what is on their own doorstep.

Every poem is unique and the collaboration between Roy Hutchins and Heathcote Williams is special. Long may it last. For some truly intriguing observations about the world and society then see this show.

Reviewer: Alison Burns