HEART-FELT PASSION WINS THE NIGHT
FUEL Festival 2012|
Hosted by: Penny Ashton
at Meteor Theatre Foyer, 1 Victoria Street, Hamilton
29 Jun 2012
[2 hours going on 3]
Reviewed by Liza Kire, 30 Jun 2012
After six successful years at the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival, the first Hamilton Poetry Idol took place last night at the Meteor Theatre, hosted by Penny Ashton as part of the Fuel Festival 2012.
The red-lit atmosphere in the Meteor theatre set the stage for new and old poets from Hamilton and Auckland to present their interpretations of performance poetry. There were three judges: MC Karmin (hip-hop MC and poet), Grace Taylor (Auckland's second Poetry Idol winner) and the colourful character that is Graeme Cairns, more commonly known as his performance name, Laird McGillicuddy of Hamilton.
Penny Ashton was the first to take the stage as the sacrificial poet with an angry lady rant about being called fat by an audience member. The poem full of laughs and expletives promised a great night of spoken word and her delivery, although hindered by a sore throat, was still as explosive as Penny Ashton would have it be.
Each of the judges listened through round one, which saw ten contestants take the stage and perform a poem of their choosing. They wowed the audience by taking us to places, within our own minds that made us think, relate, laugh and even cry. The judges offered excited responses which were sometimes positive and sometimes more constructive advice.
No two performers were the same. There was a performer on crutches, one who took his shirt off, a Welsh woman with an awesome accent and even a dreamy Indian woman who seemed to put the room into a relaxed trance whenever she spoke.
The judges were then required to deliberate and whittle the ten down to five. The second round had performers pulling out the big guns, some with politically inspired stanzas which once again left everyone in the Meteor with a lot to think about. In between rounds, during the ‘drinks break', we got to witness performances from the judges and secretly critique them in turn.
After the second round two finalists were chosen: Mr Moody Hikmet and Miss Kashka Tunstall.
Moody was first in the head-to-head battle. Having recited a round one poem about Spiders and Genocide, then delivered a round two poem about how he would change things if he were God, he chose to leave the audience thinking about how we can sometimes to be so sheltered within ourselves that we can't express to someone how much we truly love them, so we sit and love from afar.
Kashka captivated the audience and performed every poem she with a passion that showed hard work and dedication to an art she obviously loves. Kashka started the night with a poem about wanting a bike for her 21st birthday present. We were left considering possibilities and – along with Kashka – asking the why nots and the how comes. Her round two poem, about how she cosmically got her name, was full of culture and had such a delicious richness to every word that everyone in the room was left hoping their name had been created in a similar way.
The night ended with Kashka performing a poem about the heartaches and heartbreaks that come with being a survivor of cancer. She threw her heart out onto the stage in every performance and the audience threw theirs back. Thus Kashka Tunstall was named Hamilton's first ever Poetry Idol winner.
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