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Review: Dominic Berry

Lauren Gorton reviews Dominic Berry’s poetry performance for LGBT History month at Manchester Central Library

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“I will never wash my tongue again.”

Perhaps one of the most side-splitting, if not disturbing lines from the award-winning poet Dominic Berry’s performance for Manchester Central Library in honour of LGBT History Month this February.

Dominic Berry has over the past few years grown a repertoire of recognition for his work, both for adult audiences and his poetry and workshops for children, for the former winning Manchester Literature Festival’s Superheroes of Slam and New York’s Nuyorican Poetry Café Slam. Although neither perhaps were quite as notable as his nude performance for the Channel 4 documentary ‘My Daughter the Teenage Nudist’.

Besides the important poetical issue of rimjobs, the hour-long performance to the intimate crowd of nearly 100 people also included pieces of poetry based upon video games, vegan queens, but perhaps most touching of all, Dominic’s own personal past.

None of Berry’s poems were more captivating than the few but emotive pieces focusing upon his more personal background, including a three-poem piece in dedication to his mother, who faced the trial of being a single parent in the Thatcher era where such women were persecuted by society as the modern-day witches. And a piece regarding his past struggles with agoraphobia, putting the spotlight on an issue of mental health both crippling and frequently misunderstood.

Considering the show began with the bubbling poet performing a video game-inspired rap, these few personal poems turned the show in an entirely unexpected but touching direction, providing an insight into the hidden complexities and troubles even the seemingly happiest of people carry.

Never before at any performance have I seen someone engage so closely and openly with the audience. Despite the variety of the humour and seriousness of the different topical performances, the energy and enthusiasm behind each and every piece was near overwhelming.

Dominic Berry has been booked to perform his video game-based pieces for a show titled ‘Up Your Game: The Downfall of A Noob’ at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has numerous published works of poetry.