“Expertly crafted and generously performed spoken word”: The Way I See It @ Everyman Theatre

I popped along to watch The Way I See It at Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre over the weekend, and was surprised to see a new approach to the contemporary, working class everyday epic. The cast is made up of residents of an unnamed street in an unnamed urban area, and through narrative spoken word we dive into their worlds and begin to unpick the tangled knots of their individual and shared lives.

In the middle of the street is a charity shop which functions as something of a viewing platform. Here we meet the hard-working single mother offered a day of respite as the kind, elderly shop-worker minds her energetic, charming but perhaps exhausting children. We meet the dealers, the socially anxious (and for good reason) young woman who senses threat around every corner, the teenagers thrilling themselves with BMX stunts. Each of these stories connect like vignettes exploring a variety of themes and perspectives on community, loneliness and society.

At the helm of the performance is the writing and performance from George Miaris, something of a hidden gem of the the North West poetry scene, whose charming, witty and infectious writing easily pulls the viewer into his convincing world. Beija Flo plays a choral role with her husky, Lorde-like vocals and Dee Dixon offers a minimalist electronic soundtrack. Combined they give this a unique styling.

The story is told with a sense of heart and integrity that was surprising in the way it walked the audience through their lives, with a genuine sense of understanding and empathy. The text is dense but not inaccessible because of it. In fact, watching George wax lyrical and subtly position characters with small voice and physical idiosyncrasies feels like a natural blend of poetry and theatre.  Miaris’ style sits between Dylan Thomas and Kate Tempest; he is skilled at moving us through these lives with personal and political anecdotes that feel poignant, relevant and expressed with new understanding.

The collaboration between the various art forms: poetry, lyric, visuals and audio has some potential to be developed as there seems to be an organic sense of collaboration and flexibility to the story and how it might be told. At the heart this piece, however, is an impressive piece of expertly crafted and generously performed spoken word that has a good future.